Thousands sign petition for Preston, Idaho teacher who reportedly fed puppy to snapping turtle

Posted at 6:11 AM, Mar 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-14 08:11:45-04

A petition supporting a Preston, Idaho teacher has been widely circulated after reports he fed a live puppy to his classroom snapping turtle. 

The incident is said to have taken place after school hours in front of students. 

Some are calling for the teacher's removal from the school and want animal cruelty charges filed.  Others are coming to his defense. 

More than 2,200 people have signed the petition in support of the teacher.  Superintendent Marc Gee said the incident occurred after school on March 7th.  Students were reportedly offered extra credit for bringing in food for the animal. 

"It was not biological specimen, it was a puppy. And it was fed to the snapping turtle, alive," said parent Jill Parrish. 

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office is investigating after receiving an animal cruelty complaint.  While they did not release the teacher's name, the petition identified him as Robert Crosland. 

Past student River McKay, creator of the petition stated: 

"It's time to stand up for one of the best science teachers in the Preston, Idaho school district." 

Many are coming to the teacher's defense. 

"If it was a deformed puppy and it was going to die anyway, it's very much the circle of life," said parent Annette Salvesen. 

"He's the best science teacher Preston Junior High has," said parent Julie Johnson. 

Others are standing their ground.  

"It was a sick puppy, that's beside the point. It was probably going to die, that's all beside the point. It's inhumane what they did to that puppy," Parrish said. 

Both the Preston Police Department and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office turned their incident reports regarding the investigation over to the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.  On Tuesday afternoon the attorney said due to a conflict of interest the office has enlisted help from a prosecuting attorney in the 6th Judicial District. 

The prosecutor's office also asks the community for patience, saying quote: 

"The volume of calls is hindering the ability to complete what needs to be done to reach the end goal of justice in this case." 

The teacher remains in the classroom pending the results of the investigation.  In a prepared statement, school district officials said the teacher has, "...shown care, effort and passion on the job for years."