Teacher accused of feeding puppy to turtle found not guilty

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PRESTON, Idaho (AP) -- A southeast Idaho teacher accused of feeding a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students has been acquitted of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Media outlets report a Franklin County jury found Robert Crosland not guilty Friday after deliberating for about 30 minutes.

The charge was filed in June after allegations surfaced that Crosland put the puppy into an aquarium with a turtle at Preston Junior High in March.

Crosland pleaded not guilty in July.

During trial Friday the jury heard Crosland say in a recorded interview with investigators that he thought he was doing the right thing because the puppy was sick and likely to die.

Witnesses testifying during Crosland's trial say the Preston Junior High School teacher first tried to feed the living puppy to a large snake last March.

When that failed, the witnesses say Crosland dropped the puppy into the snapping turtle's tank, where the turtle killed and ate it.

The state Department of Agriculture euthanized the turtle, which Crosland owned. It was an invasive species in Idaho, and he didn't have a permit for it.

The Idaho Humane Society called the Franklin County jury's decision on Friday to find Robert Crosland not guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty a "grievous error in judgment."

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