TAUNTON Deane MP Rebecca Pow has welcomed tough new measures to tighten laws over selling and breeding dogs.

The regulations make it illegal to sell puppies under eight-weeks-old, while breeders selling more than three litters a year will need to meet strict welfare criteria to qualify for a licence.

Ms Pow is co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare and one the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, which both produced reports on puppy farming and made recommendations to the government.

Anyone breaching the rules could face an unlimited fine and be jailed for up to six months.

Ms Pow said: "There are many residents of Taunton Deane who, like me, are passionate animal lovers, and I am a firm believer that we should aim for the highest animal welfare standards.

"Indeed, we have some of the strictest welfare standards in the world, but that does not mean we can’t do more.

"I very much welcome these new measures as a step in the right direction, but we must continue to work to ensure that puppy farms are eradicated."

For advice on buying a puppy, contact the Kennel Club, the Dog's Trust or the RSPCA.