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By Associated Press

BLACKFOOT, Idaho — An Idaho animal welfare group is blasting the acquittal of an eastern Idaho teacher who was accused of feeding a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of several students.

The Idaho Humane Society called the Franklin County jury's decision on Friday to find Robert Crosland not guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty a "grievous error in judgment."

"Drowning an injured or ill animal in the manner and under the circumstances that were found to have occurred in this case was an act of wanton cruelty," the statement read.

The Idaho Humane Society went on to say that the acquittal would "undoubtedly serve as a rallying cry" for animal rights advocates to reexamine the state's animal cruelty laws.

"Additionally, this verdict will no doubt bring both national and even international condemnation of Idaho’s laws and the reputation of Idaho in general," it said.

Witnesses testifying during Crosland's trial say the Preston Junior High School teacher first tried to feed the living puppy to a large snake last March.

When that failed, the witnesses say Crosland dropped the puppy into the snapping turtle's tank, where the turtle killed and ate it.

During the trial on Friday the jury heard Crosland say in a recorded interview with investigators that he thought he was doing the right thing because the puppy was sick and likely to die.