City Hall went to the dogs on Tuesday as a committee voted to only allow pet shops to sell dogs and cats from shelters, humane societies and certified breeders.

The new rules are designed to combat the illegal sale of dogs and cats from some breeders who raise the animals in unsanitary and overcrowded enclosures.

Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker said he is thrilled about the vote, though there is still work to be done. The rules are yet to be approved by council and the city doesn't have a system to certify dog breeders.

"If approved by council this motion will mean you will know exactly where your pet is coming from and that it's been treated humanely and with love," he said.

With three shelter dogs in tow, Coun. De Baeremaeker had originally tried to convince council to restrict pet stores to selling animals from shelters.

Though that proposal was amended, De Baeremaeker said he's happy nonetheless.

"This is still a great leap ahead for dogkind," he said.

Ethical concerns like puppy mills and overcrowding are the reason that Tails, Toronto's largest independent pet store, doesn't sell dogs or cats.

"Customers are always asking us about kittens and puppies," said Tails manager Michael Siffert. "I just direct them to a local shelter."

Siffert said that not selling dogs or cats has not hurt business.

"Tails has been open for three years and it's never been a real issue."