A snapping turtle is seen in this 2009 photo. – ANDREA MELENDEZ, THE DES MOINES REGISTER
The story generated outrage across the Internet, and police said they are increasing security at schools in the district because of threats linked to the alleged March 7 incident.
“It was enough of a threat that our parents thought we ought to have a bit of a presence over there,” Preston Police Chief Mike Peterson said Friday.
He said two police officers and four Franklin County sheriff’s deputies were stationed at schools on Thursday that are normally patrolled by one sheriff’s deputy. The district doesn’t hold classes on Fridays, but officers may return to provide added security on Monday.
Preston parent Farahlyn Hansen said she is upset about the treatment the teacher has received, not the act of feeding the puppy to the turtle, which she called “humane.” Hansen’s two boys were among the three students who witnessed the act, the Preston Citizen reported.
“My kids are very upset about the way (he) is being portrayed in the news,” Hansen told the Citizen. “I’m outraged at people making the comments they have about him. He’s spent his whole life showing kids how to care for and feed animals.”
Local animal rights activist Jill Parrish filed a police report after hearing about the incident, Salt Lake City TV station KSTU reported.
“Allowing children to watch an innocent baby puppy scream because it is being fed to an animal. That is violence. That is not OK,” Parrish told KSTU.