In Ocala, Florida, the teacher accused of drowning raccoons and an opossum in the presence of students during an agricultural class, will not face criminal charges according to the state attorney’s office. In a memo released on Friday, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brad King stated the teacher did not “torment’ the animals and was not necessarily cruel.
The Forest High School science teacher, Dewie Brewton was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation and retired just a few days after the disturbing video of the animals being drowned in trash cans filled to the top with water on May 15 went viral.
According to the Gainesville Sun, Judge King’s decision was based on the following:
“During the post Miranda interview, the teacher explained that in one of his classes, his students raise chickens as a project that remain in a pen on campus. He indicated that the students cared a great deal for the chickens with many of them giving the birds names. Over the course of a few weeks, the teacher indicated that approximately 8 chickens had been killed, with their dead carcasses left behind by the culprit. Over time, the teacher determined that it was likely raccoons that were destroying the students’ farm animals. He determined it was best to trap these animals to stop the incessant and unnecessary killing of the students’ birds.”
Brewton stated he wasn’t allowed to shoot the two raccoons and opossum since guns are prohibited on campus and didn’t want to bludgeon them because that would have been “too brutal and messy.” His decision to drown them was his solution, however the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission admits drowning is not a recommended means of euthanasia. The state attorney stated that killing nuisance animals is legal, and to bring animal cruelty charges against the teacher, the State would have had to prove he unnecessarily tortured the animals; creating doubt on “the ability of the State to prove the allegations beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.”
(Photos of teacher drowning raccoons via video freeze shots)
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