A Vancouver suburb has become the first city in Canada to pass a ban on the sale of puppies from local pet stores.

Richmond, B.C., city council ordered staff Monday night to write the bylaw that would, among other things, discourage the impulse purchase of puppies from retail outlets.

Coun. Ken Johnston, who initiated the ban, said the bylaw will help stop pet stores from purchasing puppies from backyard breeders and puppy mills.

The Richmond Animal Protection Society, which runs the city's shelter, says more than half of dogs adopted from their agency in 2007 and 2008 were purebred – with more than 25 per cent of those less than a year old.

Coun. Evelina Halsey-Brandt told CTV News the bylaw will go before council for a reading next week before undergoing a series of public consultations.

If everything goes as planned, pet store owners will have until April 2011 to sell or remove dogs from their businesses.

Related: Pet store vows to fight puppy ban

Last week, SPCA officials spoke out against the sale of puppy mill dogs at pet stores after the agency seized 14 badly neglected dogs from an Abbotsford breeder.

"Unfortunately there is currently little to stop unscrupulous breeders from exploiting animals for profit when they can sell their puppies through local pet stores, classified ads and online sites," Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations for the B.C. SPCA, told ctvbc.ca.

"If people could see first-hand the sickening conditions these animals are forced to endure they would be appalled."

Canadian Kennel Club breeders are prohibited from selling their animals to pet stores under its code of ethics policy. CKC members must also offer a return or replacement policy on dogs.