East Idaho Teacher Accused Of Feeding Puppy To Snapping Turtle Goes On Trial Next Month

Sep 17, 2018

Preston Junior High biology teacher Robert Crosland is alleged to have fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle in his classroom as several students watched. The teacher is accused of animal cruelty.
Credit Brett Whaley / Flickr

The case of a Preston science teacher who allegedly fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle got international attention. The eastern Idaho town is bracing for a trial next month.

The Idaho Attorney General’s office said Robert Crosland, the teacher at the center of the controversy, couldn’t get a fair trial in the small community. While hundreds of thousands of people across the nation have said the educator should be fired, the town of Preston has rallied behind him.

The Attorney General’s Office wanted the trial moved out of Franklin County for fear an impartial jury couldn’t be found. Documents obtained by the Idaho State Journal cite a report by the state’s deputy attorney general saying an unbiased jury will be hard to find because of unusual community support for Crosland.

The request to change the venue fell flat. A local district judge ruled the trial, scheduled for October 26, will proceed in Franklin County.

While the Attorney General’s office argued Crosland wouldn’t get a fair trial in the county, Crosland’s lawyer, Shane Reichert, made the opposite assertion. Due to the national media attention of the case of the puppy and the turtle, Reichert says his client wouldn’t be able to get an unbiased trial outside Franklin County. Over 200,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Crosland’s termination.

Despite the charge of animal cruelty and looming trial, Crosland is back at Preston Junior High teaching biology.

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