Thousands have signed a petition to show their support for an Idaho teacher who has gone viral after feeding a puppy to a snapping turtle.

It's a story many have found disturbing but students, both past and present, and community members have taken to social media and signed their name on a petition to defend the Preston Junior High teacher.

Preston School District Superintendent Marc Gee says the incident happened last week when Robert Crosland fed a puppy to a snapping turtle after school hours where students were present.

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It's still unclear if the dog was dead or alive but either way Crosland has caught a lot of heat on social media after the story went viral.

Despite outrage, a petition supporting Crosland has garnered 2,500 signatures.

KTVB reached out to supporters, including Matthew Durrant who is a Preston native and has been in Crosland's class when prey has been fed to a reptile.

"To be honest Mr. Crosland is a legendary teacher in Preston, everyone knows who he is, everyone knows the caliber of teacher he is," says Durrant.

Durrant says people wouldn't be so quick to criticize Crosland if he would have fed the snapping turtle a less cute animal.

"The only reason the puppy is more important than the rat is because we as a culture place more value on that then the rat," says Durrant.

Many of Crosland's supporters echoed this same opinion but declined to talk when asked for an interview.

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Local wildlife expert Corbin Maxey works closely with snapping turtles and other animals and says reptiles are great for the classroom and do eat live prey, but a snapping turtle would never come across a puppy in the wild.

"Snapping turtles in the wild are very opportunistic but they would mainly eat fish, frogs, even other turtles. In the wild, snapping turtles would never eat puppies, so I don't understand why he thought this was something educational, especially in front of students I just don't understand," says Maxey.

Superintendent Gee says Crosland is still under investigation.