March 16 (UPI) -- Idaho officials "humanely" euthanized a snapping turtle that was reportedly fed puppy by a junior high teacher.
According to a number of local news reports, a science teacher at Preston High School is being investigated for feeding an ailing puppy to a snapping turtle. Word of the incident spread among students, parents and teachers.
After hearing of the incident, local animal activist Jill Parrish filed a complaint with the sheriff's department in Preston, Idaho. Authorities seized and euthanized the snapping turtle, an invasive species.
The department launched an investigation into the incident.
According to reports, the puppy fed to the turtle was sick and on the verge of death.
The incident allegedly happened after school hours, with only a handful of children present.
"Allowing children to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal. That is violence," Parrish told Fox affiliate KSTU. "That is not OK."
Outrage over the incident spread across social media this week, but students and parents in Preston have also taken to the Internet to voice their support for the teacher.
"Two of the three kids present were mine," local parent Farahlyn Hansen wrote on Facebook. "NONE of the kids were upset or traumatized. They do not need counseling. They saw the physical state of the very young puppy. It was sick, wouldn't accept food, and was dying. All of the three kids that were there felt Robert did the humane and right thing. My children work on farms, they understand life and death."
A petition in support of the teacher has earned more than 2,000 signatures.
School officials also voiced support for the teacher.
"We hope that any errors in judgment made by a teacher in this instance will not cause us to forget the years of care, effort, and passion the teacher has given to students in Preston School District," District Superintendent Marc Gee said in a statement.