Teacher Who Fed Puppy to Snapping Turtle Charged with Animal Cruelty

When the news spread in March that Idaho junior high school teacher Robert Crosland allegedly fed a puppy to a snapping turtle after school as students watched, people around the world were, of course, horrified.

Yet almost as disturbing as this horrifying incident was the reaction of many of Crosland’s students and their parents, who thought it was no big deal and not cruel at all.

“If anyone has a right to be upset, it is me,” Farahlyn Hansen, the mother of two students at Preston Junior High School who witnessed the killing of the puppy, told EastIdahoNews.com. “I am not upset. I felt like it was the more humane thing for Robert to do than to just leave it (the puppy) to die. … The puppy was dying.”

Another parent, Annette Salvesen, agreed. “If it was a deformed puppy that was going to die anyway, Cros[land] is very much circle of life,” she said.

How could Hansen, Salvesen and others with reactions similar to theirs not be aware that a veterinarian could have euthanized that poor puppy much more quickly and humanely? A quick Google search shows there is at least one animal hospital just a couple of miles from the school.

And what kind of “circle of life” lesson was Crosland teaching those students? Snapping turtles eat fish, frogs and occasionally other turtles – but not puppies. The turtle also lost its life a short time later. It was seized and euthanized by Idaho State Department of Agriculture officials, because snapping turtles are an invasive species in the state, and Crosland did not have a permit to keep it.

Despite what Crosland did, nearly 4,000 people signed a petition supporting him. On the other hand, nearly 194,000 people from around the world have signed a Care2 petition urging him to be charged with animal cruelty and fired.

Fortunately, the Idaho attorney general’s office agreed with the Care2 petition signers and, after a three-month investigation, charged Crosland with animal cruelty. Unfortunately, because it’s the teacher’s first offense, under Idaho law the charge is only a misdemeanor. If convicted, Crosland is facing up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Although this misdemeanor charge may seem like an insufficient slap on Crosland’s wrist, at least it’s more than what a Florida high school teacher got for having his students drown two raccoons and an opossum.

The Florida state attorney’s office decided that the teacher, Dewie Brewton, “did not intend to torture or torment those nuisance animals” – even though he had the students drown the caged raccoons in a trashcan filled with water, spraying their faces with water when they tried to come up for air. Brewton was not charged with any counts of animal cruelty.

However, when the county public schools superintendent, Heidi Maier, found out about the drownings, she said she would fire Brewton. He resigned before she could do so.

What about Crosland’s employment status? As international outrage began to grow over what he called a “regrettable circumstance,” Preston School District Superintendent Marc Gee said in a March 9 news release that district administrators were taking steps “to ensure that this this type of action could not be repeated.”

None of those steps apparently involved firing or even suspending Crosland.

School is now out for the summer in Preston. Despite the news of the animal cruelty charge against Crosland, school district officials have not commented on whether he’ll still have his job when classes resume.

Take Action

If Gee is sincere about ensuring the action Crosland took cannot be repeated, the best way to do this would be to let Crosland go — and his teaching license should be revoked as well. Please join 194,000 people who have signed the petition urging the superintendent to fire Crosland.

If there’s an issue you care about in your community or the world, you can start your own Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. Care2′s community of activists will join you in your cause and help you make a difference.


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing

Ann B
Ann B3 months ago

IDIOTS walk among us and the number is increasing daily!!!!! severe punishment needed here

Renata B
Renata B4 months ago

Very strange breed of so-called (very improperly called) "teachers" in the US. But then again: you do dissection in school. I have three postgraduate certificates, but if I had been forced to do dissection at school I would have refused even to go to a secondary school! Breeding cruelty and insensitivity instead of teaching respect and compassion. Not surprised that then people go around shooting at random. They are the fruit of such "education".

Danuta Watola
Danuta W4 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Jacqueline GLYDE
Jacqueline GLYDE5 months ago

The parents that agree with him should be locked up in the same cell,ON BREAD & WATER!!
This makes me so mad.

Jane H
Jane H7 months ago

Fire the animal ABUSER.

Vincent T
Past Member 7 months ago


Marty Price
Marty P7 months ago

Can't believe somebody hasn't beat the shit out of this demented coward.

Lolli M
Olga M7 months ago

when you read the title is difficult to believe that this is something that has happened, but that is the SICK reality of a SICK EVIL persons head.

Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine A7 months ago

I can't believe he wasn't hauled off in irons considering! What a thing to teach children, how to drown animals and kill others by feeding then to each other! That man is seriously ill!