Preston Snapping Turtle Euthanized After Puppy Incident
The Preston Junior High School science teacher at the center of one of the most talked about stories in the state of Idaho has lost possession of his pet snapping turtle.
UPDATE March 16, 12:45 p.m.: East Idaho News has confirmed that the turtle in question was euthanized by the Idaho Department of Agriculture.
After our weekly run, some of my Team Run Boise teammates and I headed to Big Al's for dinner. This week we had a very friendly shoe rep for a company called Karhu visiting us from Mt. Shasta, California. At some point, conversation turned to the incident in Preston where a science teacher fed an ill puppy to a snapping turtle on school grounds in front of students. I turned to the shoe rep and said "Oh my gosh, this is your first exposure to Idaho. You must think we're so weird here!" Even if you've lived in Idaho your entire life, you have to admit the headlines surrounding this story are awfully strange.
Well, the headlines just keep coming. According to the Idaho Statesman, Robert Crosland, the teacher at the center of an animal cruelty investigation, has now lost his snapping turtle. The investigation isn't just looking at whether Crosland treated the puppy inhumanely, but the ownership of the turtle as well.
With so many of them living in and around the Boise River, it's no surprise that it is legal to own a snapping turtle in the Gem State...but there's a catch. The turtles are considered reptile pests on a list from the Invasive Species of Idaho. The turtles (which can weigh up to 90 pounds) are not native to Idaho, but rather the Eastern U.S. and Southeastern Canada. They're highly adaptable and competitive, which means they have the potential to harm Idaho's natural ecosystem and wildlife. To keep one as a pet, you need a permit.
A representative from Idaho Fish and Game tells the Statesman that Crosland didn't carry that permit, so the turtle has been seized from his care. When the investigation is finished, he could face a misdemeanor charge for not having the permit.
Meanwhile, the fate of the turtle who ate the puppy is uncertain. It may be put down or adopted to somebody else outside of Idaho.