A US schoolteacher, Robert Crosland in Preston, Idaho US has been charged with animal cruelty after allegedly feeding a sick puppy to a snapping turtle in front of his students.
After the incident in March the turtle was “humanely euthanized” as it is considered an invasive species.
Mr Crosland could be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $5,000 (£3,700) if convicted.
Several US media outlets said attempts to contact Mr Crosland had proven unsuccessful.
The incident sparked rival petitions for and against Mr Crosland, who has taught at Preston Junior High School for a number of years.
One calling for him to be fired and asking “Do we really want teachers killing living animals in front of impressionable junior high students?” has attracted nearly 190,000 signatures.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said Mr Crosland was “a bully who should not be allowed near impressionable young people”.
A counter “We Support Crosland” petition urging people “to show our support for the man that taught us science in a new way and truly loves his job” so far has attracted more than 3,700 signatures, many from colleagues, ex-students and members of the local community.
Some of his supporters say the puppy was dying and it was the right thing to do.
The incident reportedly happened after school in front of a small number of students, with authorities saying it was not part of school activities.
The turtle was seized by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture when it learned there was no permit for it.