I think I have just reached a new low in my opinion of some people.
A few months ago, I read an article about a junior high teacher from Idaho, Robert Crosland, who fed a live puppy to a class snapping turtle in front of students.
You read that right: LIVING PUPPY. Alive. Breathing. Warm. PUPPY! Not a feeder fish, as is the norm. A puppy.
I’m still actually reeling at the mental image.
It took place after school, although some students were in attendance, and when the students told their parents, some of them were equally as appalled as I and had him charged. He was charged with a misdemeanor for animal cruelty.
His explanation: the puppy was sick and wasn’t going to survive, and the turtle needed food or he would be suffering, so feeding the pup to the turtle solved two problems. The pup was put out of its misery and the turtle got fed.
At this point, I’m pretty much falling onto the floor in shock. But it gets worse.
THE COURTS BOUGHT IT!
He was found not guilty! His explanation was accepted by the courts, especially after the students testified they saw nothing wrong with what he did. His defense lawyer stated after the case was heard, “…and because it was a puppy that people humanize and bring into their home they felt that he created some suffering for this animal when in fact if he would have failed to feed his turtle that would be suffering so he was in a situation where he was doing what was in the best interest of his animals and not waste a life and teach students the circle of life.”
CIRCLE OF LIFE!!
So now I’m pretty much a puddle on the floor, trying to scrape myself back together, and I think “who are these people? how can they justify out-and-out murder of a puppy?” The puppy should have been to the vet, which he either didn’t do (this wasn’t clear) or if he did and the treatment was not effective, it should have been appropriately euthanized.
Before the turtle even enters the picture, this man has already mistreated the puppy. At this point, it is already a case for the SPCA. He pretty much denied necessary medical treatment to an animal for which he was in charge.
Why did he need to feed the turtle a dog to prevent the turtle’s suffering? Was it not being fed regularly? Was the turtle starving? It sounds like there a possible case for mistreatment of BOTH animals.
In addition, the courts did not feel feeding the puppy to the turtle caused the puppy any suffering. No suffering being snapped into bloody pieces and eaten alive, trying to swim for its life. No suffering there at all, according to the powers that be.
But no. Not guilty was the verdict. Not guilty for not providing the necessities of life to two creatures, not guilty of causing unnecessary suffering, not guilty of playing God by taking the life of a puppy, not guilty of breaking any SPCA basic tenets, not guilty of showing students a laissez-faire attitude towards one living creature because he justified that he was not wasting a life. In fact, the defense suggested people only brought the charges in the first place because it was a puppy, a creature we bring into our homes and “humanize”.
I don’t know a whole lot about snapping turtles, but I’m pretty sure puppies are not their natural food, so the excuse of showing the students “the circle of life” is a real stretch. I can, however, see young students accepting this because he, after all, is a teacher, an authority figure. What I did not expect was the adults in this situation falling for it.
As far as I’m concerned, this was a flagrant abuse of an animal (maybe two) based on the Animal Protection Acts we employ, and as appalled as I am at his actions, I’m even more dismayed that it was accepted.
This is why we need animal activists. This is why we need to make our voices louder. For every case that comes to the public eye, how many are going unreported? How many children are watching the abuse and assuming it’s acceptable, and even worse, normal?
There is no need to wonder why the world is the way it is when people can treat the weakest and smallest among us in this way, and not just get away with it, but have it condoned by our legal system. This is the same system we count on to find the truth and to implement justice for ourselves.
It makes me scared.