Preston teacher charged with animal cruelty

Robert Crosland

BOISE — The Preston biology teacher who allegedly fed an ill puppy to a turtle now faces a criminal charge.

Robert Crosland, a science teacher at Preston Junior High, faces a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty almost three months after he purportedly performed the act in front of a handful of students after school.

Idaho law stipulates that animal cruelty is punishable to by up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine for first-time offenders.

The incident sparked a firestorm of protest from animal rights groups, nabbed national headlines and prompted a weeks-long investigation and subsequent criminal charge from Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office had originally investigated the complaint of animal cruelty in March, and subsequently sent a report to Franklin County prosecuting attorney Vic Pearson to review potential animal cruelty charges against Crosland. Pearson’s office passed the case on to Wasden’s office, however, citing a conflict of interest.

State officials confiscated and euthanized the turtle during the investigation.

Parents in the Preston School District have rallied behind the embattled teacher in recent weeks.

Preston is located near the Utah border in Southeast Idaho.

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