The San Francisco, California, USA, Commission of Animal Control and Welfare is looking into ways to highlight pet stores that do not actually sell live animals, one of which includes a special sign that would be displayed in the window of pet retailers that only sell petfood and accessories, The Examiner reported.

Animal commission director, Ryan Young, suggested the new initiative after a June 2011 recommendation to ban stores outright from selling pets made little progress with the city's Board of Supervisors, which would need to approve the ordinance.

Young suggested the city issue official signs to be placed in the storefronts of all pet stores in San Francisco that do not sell live animals, serving as a reminder to customers that these businesses have chosen not to engage in the practice of selling pets when so many are already in shelters.

“The idea would be to highlight and reward the pet stores who have chosen not to sell live animals,” Young said.

However, Michael Maddox, general counsel for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, said that Young’s sign program would unfairly condemn all pet shops.

“This is making a blanket comment about pet stores that is not based on fact,” Maddox said. “This would essentially amount to a city-wide boycott, irrespective of the quality of care at pet stores.”

The commission will further discuss the animal sign program at its meeting on November 10.