There are times when you hear about a story in the news or you see a headline and you imagine that there is simply no way that it could be real. It sounds too farfetched and like something that would show up on some sort of satirical site. Then, you find out that it is all too real and you sit and wonder how something could happen and what the aftermath is going to be. That’s exactly how most people felt when they discovered that a science teacher from Preston, Idaho named Robert Crosland decided that it would probably be a good idea to feed a puppy to a snapping turtle. Even worse – yes, it gets worse – he decided that the best way to do this would be in front of students.
Was It the Humane Thing to Do?
The argument that the teacher has made in his defense is that the puppy was ill and he believed that it was going to die. It also happened outside of the classroom and after school.
The teacher says that he believed that feeding the puppy to the turtle was the humane thing to do. The students who witnessed the act reiterated what the teacher said and thought that it was humane to have fed it to the turtle. However, it should probably be noted that the students and the teacher are not veterinarians, and it is not known what was wrong with the puppy or whether there would have been a way to get the puppy actual medical treatment.
If the puppy was indeed going to die, it would have likely been a better course of action to have allowed a veterinarian to provide the animal with proper euthanasia. This would have been humane and would not have subjected the animal to such pain in the last minutes of its life.
The Chief Executive of the Idaho Humane Society, and an actual veterinarian, said that there is a responsibility to avoid unnecessary suffering of an animal. He also said that it did not really teach the children anything of value. “We don’t teach hypothermia in physiology class by putting kittens in a freezer,” he said.
What many – including the community of Preston who is defending him – are forgetting is the fact that there are laws on the books that prevent animal cruelty. They can’t want some laws followed and not others. While other animals do consume one another in the wild, consciously placing a helpless puppy in front of a snapping turtle, and watching what happens, could likely be considered cruelty by the courts. The laws in Idaho state that animal abuse includes the intentional and malicious death of animals, causing needless suffering, and unnecessary cruelty. It fits in the is case, and when the case goes to court, we will see what happens.
There are certainly many people who think that the “sick puppy” in this case is a moniker that might be more aptly placed on the teacher who fed the animal to the snapping turtle.