More than 100 puppies destined for sale in Britain have been seized by animal welfare chiefs.
The pups, aged between five and eight weeks old, were recovered when two vans were stopped and searched on Wednesday evening at Dublin Port following a two-year investigation into the illegal shipment of dogs.
There were 116 animals in total which included some so-called designer breeds such as Labradoodle and Cavachon, the Bichon Frise and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cross.
They have been put into the care of the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA).
A spokeswoman for the DSPCA said the agency would be pursuing a prosecution of people allegedly involved in shipping puppies without the required pet passports.
“This was the result of an investigation that has been ongoing for considerable time,” she said.
“We will be pursuing prosecution against individuals involved. This was just two vehicles on one ferry on one night.”
Other breeds recovered in the operation included west highland terriers, huskies and cocker spaniels.
The puppies were said to be in generally good condition with 32 of them being treated in the DSPCA’s veterinary hospital for various conditions including diarrhoea, worms, possible viruses or as a result of being too young to travel long distances.
The DSPCA said it was the first case of large numbers of pet dogs to be seized under the new Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.
Gardai, customs staff and officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine supported the operation.
No arrests were made.