A local dog rescue group was denied the chance to gather signatures at this weekend's Pet Expo for a petition to ban pet stores from selling pets.

Actions Speak Louder, which rescues dogs from puppy mills, had petitioned in various locations across the city and wanted to bring their cause to the 11th annual Pet Expo at the Big Four building. But the organizers of the event said no.

"We've heard from both sides of the fence – people who support and people who do not. And because the days leading up to the show it was getting a little bit heated, we thought the best way to avoid something on-site was to remove it," said Terra Connors with Calgary Pet Expo.

The group is allowed to set up at the Pet Expo but cannot collect signatures. Show organizers said the Pet Expo isn't the right venue for that, but added they have offered to help the group outside of the event.

The group launched the petition to show city council that Calgarians support a bylaw preventing pet stores from selling animals.

Petland has nine stores in Calgary and sells about 1,500 dogs and cats a year and would be directly impacted by a bylaw preventing the sale of pets at a pet store.

But Robert Church, with the company, insists the store's breeders are regularly inspected by Petland.

"We believe that the province should step in and should regulate and inspect and license all breeders, pet stores, and animal shelters. I think that's very important for the health and care for all of our animals," he said.

Actions Speak Louder members say they hope to present their petition to city councilors some time this spring, and that they would like to see a bylaw in place by fall.

"We have to start somewhere, and everywhere else that this has been successful they started at a municipal level," said Hailey Seidel. "Licensing and zoning are municipal issues, and that's why we have to start here."

Bill Bruce, director of animal and bylaw services with the city, says the city should hear what Calgarians have to say about this issue.