A proposed ban on pet sales isn’t sitting well with one Nanaimo business owner who says the move could destroy his livelihood.

The Nanaimo SPCA has gone to city council asking it to impose a ban on the retail sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits.

The organization says the ban would cut off demand for puppy mills and so-called “backyard breeders.”

“Businesses that have horrendous condition, horrendous health problems, often have terrible genetic issues that are passed on to the puppies,” said Nanaimo SPCA spokesman Leon Davis. “The breeding parents are kept often in wire cages and bred over and over again.”

But Barry Bender, the owner of Paws N Jaws pet shop, says he’s opposed to a potential ban because of the effect it will have on his business.

“Puppy sales account for 40 per cent of our sales,” he said. “I’ve got two years, three months left on my lease. That would account to in excess of $200,000 if I couldn’t make my lease payment, which I wouldn’t be able to.”

Staff at Paws N Jaws say some of their dogs come from other provinces, and while the store doesn’t disclose which breeder they’re from, Bender insists they aren’t from puppy mills.

“I know where I get them from. I’ve been there, I’ve seen their operations, I know that they take care of their dogs,” he said.

The SPCA is also raising concerns about the health and safety of the animals in confined spaces while in-store, something Coun. Bill Bestwick brought up during a city council meeting Monday night.

“What happens when the lights go out and the store closes?” asked Bestwick. “Are they penned, are they interacting? When a store closes at seven at night, and doesn’t open until nine or 10 the next morning, the puppies are probably alone for 10 to 12 hours or more.”

When asked, the store told CTV News puppies are left overnight, but are able to interact with each other.

Should Nanaimo pass the ban it would join Vancouver, which just implemented a similar ban in June, and two other cities in B.C.

Alternatively, the SPCA may ask council to implement a bylaw requiring businesses selling animals to follow welfare guildelines.