PRESTON, Idaho (CNN) – Authorities in Idaho are investigating a report of a junior high teacher feeding a live puppy to one of his classroom reptiles in front of students.
According to a statement from the school district, it occurred after students had been dismissed.
CNN affiliate KSTU cited an animal activist who said the puppy was sick.
But the activist, who is also a parent, says the puppy’s condition was no excuse for feeding it to a reptile.
“What I have learned in the last four days is disgusting. It is sick. It is sick,” Jill Parrish, a parent, said.
Parrish, a local animal activist, is the one who filed a police report after hearing about an incident involving Preston Junior High Science Teacher Robert Crosland.
A teacher told her that last week after school, Mr. Crosland fed a live puppy, who was reportedly sick, to one of his reptiles.
He has a snake and a snapping turtle. Apparently, it all happened in front of students.
“Allowing children to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal. That is violence. That is not okay.”
“I’ve only heard him feed like mice or birds to his animals. I feel a little bit better that it was a puppy that was going to die not just a healthy puppy,” Este Hull, a 7th grader at Preston Junior High, said.
A sentiment echoed by some parents.
“If it was a deformed puppy and it was going to die anyway. Cros is very much circle of life,” Annette Salvesen said.
“He’s the best science teacher Preston Junior High has,” Julie Johnson said.
Franklin County Sheriff David Fryar says the department is looking into it.
“We’re investigating the facts and turning it over to the prosecutor. He’s the one who will determine if the law has been broken,” Fryar said.
The superintendent says Mr. Crossland is still employed here at Preston Junior High and while the incident is under investigation, he’s not been placed on administrative leave.
Even if the puppy was going to die, Parrish doesn’t think this was the way to do it.
“There’s a lot of humane things you can do. Feeding a live animal to a reptile is not humane and it’s not okay.”
Other parents say it’s just a hands-on way to teach the circle of life.
“If you’re not fine with it, leave the room,” Salvesen said.
In its statement, the school district referred to the incident as “regrettable,” specifying that it was not part of any school-directed program.
The district says it is taking measures to ensure that no similar incidents occur in the future.