The Idaho State Department of Agriculture in a statement Friday says snapping turtles are an invasive species in Idaho requiring a permit, and so it had to be put down.
The incident has resulted in threats targeting Crosland and Preston schools. There are online petitions calling for Crosland to be fired, and one has over 90,000 signatures.
A petition in support of the teacher has earned more than 2,000 signatures.
Law enforcement officials said that "vague threats" connected to the alleged puppy-eating incident have been received by the school, and that police were posted outside the town's schools this week.
Preston Junior High School biology teacher Robert Crosland was identified on Tuesday by East Idaho News as the man who fed a sick puppy to the turtle, which was put down by local authorities on Thursday.
Marc Gee, Preston School District 201 Superintendent, indicated that the incident occurred after school and was not part of any school-sanctioned program.
"We had a blast when we were in his class", Jacob Linderman told the paper at the time.
"Preston City Police Chief Peterson and Franklin County Sheriff Fryar have met with district administrators and have determined that the threat warrants continued police presence as a precaution, but that it does not pose a credible threat to the safety of our students".
Preston Junior High School previously denied CrimeOnline's request for comment while calls and emails to Preston School District remain unanswered.
Reports indicate the live feeding took place at school, after the school day was finished, in front of several middle school students, in Crosland's classroom. Snapping turtles are considered an invasive species.
But the puppy was a step too far for some, such as local animal activist Jill Parrish, who filed the police report. The junior high science teacher allegedly lacked the proper permit to own/keep the turtle, according to an Idaho State Department of Agriculture representative.
The story that Crosland reportedly fed the sick and dying puppy to the turtle last week has caused a sharp reaction from animal rights groups and their supporters.
"Cages and aquariums line the walls, and they're not just local snakes and frogs". "His room is so interesting even former students still visit".
Citing a conflict of interest, however, Pearson told the Idaho State Journal earlier this week that he's turned the case over to a prosecutor in a neighboring county who will determine if Crosland will be criminally charged. "Ninth-graders on Preston High School's track team sometimes end their training runs at the junior high". According to Pearson, it is possible that the science teacher could face animal cruelty charges.
"The reports have been turned over to him for his review and determination", the statement said.
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