BOISE -- Organizers of a group seeking to put an animal cruelty initiative on the Idaho ballot this November have failed to get enough signatures to qualify the measure for a public vote.
Idaho 1 of 3 President Virginia Hemingway expressed disappointment, but said her group did remarkably well in educating the public about this issue. She public called the "response overwhelmingly positive."
The group wants a first offense for animal cruelty to be a felony in Idaho.
Today was the deadline to submit signatures to county clerks for verification to qualify the measure for the November ballot. They would then have 60 days to count all the signatures. Hemingway estimates her group gathered only around 33,000 of the 47,500 they needed.
Although Idaho lawmakers approved the state's first felony animal cruelty law earlier this year, Hemingway says she doesn't believe the law goes far enough, and that no one will ever be convicted under it.
Hemingway says the group will continue to work with legislators to toughen up animal cruelty laws in Idaho, and may take another try at a ballot initiative for 2014. She says the wording will likely be changed before taking it to the public. And next time around the group will seek financial backing. This latest effort was done with volunteers.