No charges to be filed against Forest High School teacher accused of drowning 'nuisance' animals
UPDATE: FRIDAY MAY 25TH
The North Central Florida teacher who was accused of drowning three animals during class won't face criminal charges.
After a video was released showing trapped raccoons being put into a barrel of water and drowning, Florida Fish and Wildlife and The Florida Department of Health began investigating.
On Friday, The State Attorney's Office announced no charges will be filed against, Dewie Brewton, the teacher shown in the viral video.
In his letter, State Attorney Brad King wrote,
“Based on the totality of the circumstances in this case, Mr. Brewton did not intend to torture or torment these nuisance animals; he was simply attempting to protect his class's school project in an appropriate manner.”
During one of his interviews, Brewton explained the raccoons may have killed eight chickens his students were raising as a project.
Brewton then decided the most humane way to get rid of the nuisance animals was to drown them.
The Florida Administrative Code does allow for the euthanization of these animals.
However, the State Attorney's letter explains the code doesn't state whether drowning would be considered inhumane or an acceptable means of euthanasia in this situation.
On Facebook, Forest High School FFA alumni are expressing their support for their former teacher.
Several petitions had surfaced calling for the school district to fire Brewton immediately.
He retired just after the video taken during his class went viral.
Ocala, Florida- A Forest High School agriculture teacher was placed on administrative leave after students reported he was drowning two raccoons and a possum during school hours.
According to school district spokesman Kevin Christian, the incident is being investigated by the school district, as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The FFWCC released the following statement on the matter: "The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation is looking into an incident that occurred at Forest High School in Marion County involving a raccoon. FWC Officers are investigating to see the legality of the issue that occurred. The FWC takes these matters seriously. For more information regarding nuisance wildlife visit http://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/assistnuisance-wildlife."
Officials from both the school district and the FFWCC have not yet confirmed whether the animals died as a result of the incident, citing the matter was "still under investigation."
It is unclear whether or not the teacher, who has not yet been identified, will be facing any criminal charges for the incident.