PRESTON, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - UPDATE: 3-16 11:20 a.m.
After taking custody of a biology teacher's snapping turtle, the Idaho Department of Agriculture has humanely euthanized the animal.
According to the department, snapping turtles are classified as an invasive species that are highly-adaptable, top-tier predators in their habitat.
The department said the public is encouraged to avoid propagating invasive species or bring them into Idaho from other states and countries.
As the investigation of an animal cruelty allegation continues in Preston, the Idaho Fish and Game Department in Pocatello has seized the biology teacher's snapping turtle on behalf of the Idaho Department of Agriculture. Regional enforcement officers said the Agriculture department is responsible for managing "invasive species', which is how the turtle is characterized.
After threats against the school this week, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office is encouraging the public to stay patient and allow for investigation of the case to move forward.
Meantime, a Preston resident started a new petition drive this week. This one is aimed at getting the news media not to report on the incident.
According to the author, it would hold the media accountable for reporting "rumors, lies, gossip, and UNRESEARCHED" as "credible, reliable, and ok to go on the air with" information!"
UPDATE 3/13/18: Students have started a petition in support of a Preston Jr. High biology teacher under investigation after a parent filed a complaint saying the teacher fed a puppy to a turtle.
Right now the Franklin County Sheriff's Office is not naming the teacher, but according to the petition, the teacher is Robert Crosland.
1,352 people have signed the petition since it was created by former student River McKay 17 hours ago.
She said, "Its time to stand up for one of the best science teachers in the Preston Idaho School District. As a past student I know first hand the impact he had on my life and many others. Time to show our support for the man that taught us science in a new way and truly loves his job."
More than 40 others have voiced their reason for signing the petition saying, "Crosland is a good man and great teacher. It’s ridiculous that this has even become such a huge mess," said Irene Welch.
Arron Haws wrote, "Mr. Crosland is one of the greatest men I have ever known. He and his incredible family are absolute shining pillars in the Preston/Mink Creek community. They have been through a great deal in recent years, including the loss of their home in a devastating fire. There is absolutely NO REASON he should lose his employment as well. I SUPPORT YOU!!!"
Mike Kelley said, "He is one of the only teachers that cares about his job and is willing to go the extra mile to give every chance possible to help them succeed. This man can do no wrong in my mind and it would be a shame if the school district didn’t treat him with the same respect that he has given to his students over his several years of dedicated service."
On March 12, the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney's Office enlisted the help of a prosecuting attorney in the 6th Judicial District due to a conflict of interest.
Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Vic Pearson asks for your patience as delays are not uncommon to insure legal and ethical standards required by the criminal justice system are met.
Pearson said the number of calls being received by both law enforcement and his office are hindering the ability to complete what needs to be done.
A Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3 reporter is talking to the woman who filed the original complaint and will have the full story tonight at 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Local News 8 and at 5:30 p.m. on KIDK Eyewitness News 3.
You can sign the petition HERE.
ORIGINAL: A Preston Jr. High biology teacher is under investigation by school and law enforcement officials after what school district officials called a "regrettable circumstance" involving biological specimens.
Superintendent Marc Gee said the incident occurred after school on March 7 during an after-school animal feeding and was not a part of any school directed program.
Gee said the safety of students or staff was not compromised.
He would not discuss the animals involved or release any other details.
Gee said the Franklin County Sheriff's office was also investigating the teacher after receiving a complaint of animal cruelty.
The name of the teacher wasn't released, and the teacher remains in the classroom pending the results of the investigation. In a prepared statement, school district officials asked community members for patience and said the teacher has shown care, effort and passion on the job for years.
District administration said it is taking steps to ensure this type of action could not be repeated.
You can view the district's full release here: