SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco commission has put off a vote on a proposal to ban pet sales to consider an alternate idea that would require pet owners to be licensed.

The Commission of Animal Control and Welfare decided after more than three hours of debate at its meeting on Thursday to postpone the vote at least until January.

Commissioner Philip Gerrie says he doesn’t think the commission should rush the vote.

Gerrie proposed the ban in the spring. It would apply to dogs, cats and also small animals such as hamsters and rats.

It would need the approval of city supervisors before it could take effect.

The alternative proposal would require potential pet owners to take a class on animal care and obtain a license in order to adopt a pet.