Controls on pet brokers mulled

The Environment Ministry is studying the possibility of placing controls on Internet pet brokers that don’t use breeding facilities, ministry officials said Wednesday.

The ministry, regarding such brokers as animal traders, hopes to put them under the scope of the Protection and Keeping of Animals Law, which now refers only to pet shops and breeders with equipment for breeding and housing animals.

The ministry is also planning to strengthen penalties against illegal animal traders, they said.

A growing number of problems involving Internet pet dealers and their customers have been reported over the last few years, the officials said.

Pet care shops and pet delivery transport companies might also be made subject to the law because animals sometimes suffer during transport.

The ministry will study raising the maximum fine for violators from the current 300,000 yen, making public the names of offenders and boosting legal powers, including orders to suspend business, the officials said.