An online petition pushing city council to ban the sale of all pets except for shelter animals in local pet stores has garnered thousands of signatures.

Getting mass-market dogs, cats and rabbits out of pet stores would be better for both the animals and city’s bottom line, says Kasey Dunn, an animal welfare advocate who started the petition.

“I know a lot of people are concerned about the killings that happen at animal control,” Dunn told CBC Hamilton. “When animals go in, they very rarely go out.”

But the number of shelter animals that need to be put down could be quelled by banning the sale of animals sold to stores from other provinces by things like puppy mills, she says. Instead, local shelters would bring animals in to pet stores for people to choose from. That would also mean animal control deals with fewer animals, which would curb costs, she says.

Similar bans already exist in Toronto, Mississauga, Kingston, and Richmond, B.C.

Dunn also launched a similar petition against Quebec-based Safari Pet Center in Vaughan Mills. The petition reached 3,000 signatures within the first week and drew the attention of city councillors. On January 21, a ban on the sale of animals in pet stores was passed in Vaughn.

Dunn does admit that pet stores would see less of a direct cash influx from showing shelter animals from the city, “But most stores say with the improved image they get, they’re still able to do very well.”

Once Dunn’s petition reaches 3,000 signatures, she plans to make a delegation request to Hamilton city council.