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Idaho teacher Robert Crosland pleads not guilty to allegedly feeding puppy to turtle in front of class

Robert Crosland has taught science at Preston Junior High School in Idaho for years.

Preston School District

PRESTON, Idaho -- An Idaho teacher accused of feeding a sick puppy to a snapping turtle in front of several students has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. Preston Junior High School science teacher Robert Crosland made the plea Tuesday in Franklin County Magistrate Court.

He faces up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine if convicted at his trial scheduled to start Oct. 26. The school is in rural Preston, where the 2004 teen cult classic film "Napoleon Dynamite" was set.

Several parents came forward to say Crosland fed the puppy to the turtle on March 7. Several weeks later, state officials seized the turtle and euthanized it as a non-native species.

Crosland didn't respond to a message left by The Associated Press at the school. 

After the alleged incident, school district officials asked community members for patience and said the teacher has shown care, effort and passion on the job for years.

"He is a cool teacher who really brought science to life," a former student told East Idaho News at the time of the alleged incident.