Robert Crosland, a middle school Biology teacher from Idaho was found NOT GUILTY yesterday on charges of animal cruelty after an incident where he fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle who lives in his classroom in an effort to teach a group of middle schoolers about science.
There is not much worse in this world than middle school science – everyone knows that. I had to take 7th grade science three times and all I learned is that flies have the ability to spontaneous generate inside a sealed jar. The only way 7th grade Biology class can be even kind-of-cool is if there is some sort of reptile(s) in the classroom to feed stuff to. Up to a certain point- science class gets progressively less terrible with every additional reptile that the teacher keeps in the classroom, these are just facts.
At Preston Jr. High in Preston, Idaho Robert Crosland was the educator who watched “Dangerous Minds” at a young age and answered the call to make “science cool”, and with two snakes, some lizards, and a snapping turtle in his classroom he had some downhill mo’ on his side – but I guess watching the class pet boa constrictor swallow a mouse whole just wasn’t getting through to the students like it used to and he decided to amp things up a bit, so naturally he fed a live puppy to the class snapping turtle, who is aptly named Jaws, while his students watched. Is teacher of the year still a thing? Those lucky kids are going to be able to pop on command if they learn how to use that trauma as a tool.
You might have a few questions like: Where did he get the puppy? Why did he feed a puppy to a turtle? How big is this turtle that it can eat a puppy and why?
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Where did the puppy come from?
This one is easy. Crosland’s son Mario was gifted the puppy by a farmer he met. The farmer’s dog had recently given birth to a litter of puppies and the farmer became concerned the puppies were feeding off the mother too much causing her health to decline. I mean, they were just sucking her dry. In an effort to save the dog mother – the farmer started giving away her puppies and asking no questions. According to Mario, the puppy was sick when he got it from the farmer (probably because it wasn’t getting fed). Mario and his sister spent a whole entire day trying to nurse the sick puppy back to health, but after 23ish hours they realized that there was nothing they could do except give it to their creepy Dad – it was their only option.
What happened on the day in question?
Robert Crosland drove to school on March 12th, 2018 just like he did every other day, except on this day he had a sick puppy his children got from a creepy farmer. This baby canine was sick, it hadn’t eaten for a whole 24 hours-ish, they had tried EVERYTHING… feeding it, and… EVERYTHING. Now there was only one humane thing to do with it – drop it in a tank with a Boa Constrictor and see what happens, But the Boa wasn’t biting and the school day was about to begin, so Mr. Crosland stowed the living animal in his van for like eight ours – and in the van that puppy stayed until the final school bell had rung.
Finally Mr. Crosland had another chance to do his part in completing the circle of life and this time he had an audience. A group of 7th graders that had stayed after-school for the weekly meeting of Mr. Crosland’s Psycho Science Club, and boy were they in for a treat. Mr. Crosland fetched the puppy out of the van and introduced it to his pupils,
“He let us hold it first,” one student said about the puppy. “It was small, one-handed size for a person with big hands.”
“It was pretty cute,” one teen witness said. “It looked like a Lab.”
Crosland took advantage of the teachable moment and improvised an experiment right there on the spot, saying to his students “Anyone wanna see me feed this dog to the snake?” and yet again the puppy went into the tank with the Boa Constrictor, but the Boa was still unimpressed. This ordeal was starting to drag on too long now, this puppy had been sick for 36 hours now, it was time for it to die, enter the always reliable snapping turtle Jaws. Jaws was ever eager to impress his master and it is well know that his favorite food is puppies, they’re the veal of dogs and a delicacy Jaws rarely got the opportunity to enjoy. So into the habitat the puppy went. At trial the students who were present at the feeding testified:
“The puppy swam around before it was dragged to the bottom of the tank by the snapping turtle. And then the puppy passed out and became unconscious. Instead of eating the puppy right away, the turtle waited for it to stop moving which took around 30 seconds.”
So the circle of life was complete. The puppy was finally put out of it’s misery after every effort had been made to save it’s life for 24 hours. Jaws the Turtle was fat and happy. And a group of burgeoning young scientists witnessed something horrific they will never ever be able to unsee – this is middle school public school science at it’s best.
Although Mr. Crosland dodged the animal cruelty charges he was forced to part with his beloved turtle Jaws, making his mission to make science cool that much harder.
I am going to leave you with two quotes related to the story that really made me think:
“Crosland also said during that interview that he had fed a puppy to a different snapping turtle years ago, per the State Journal.” – USA TODAY
“He is a cool teacher who really brought science to life,” – one of Croslad’s students
PS: We discuss this in-depth on today’s Hard Factor and try to answer the timeless philosophical question of “is it ever appropriate to feed a dog to a snapping turtle in front of children?”