LIMERICK dog pound has been inundated with offers to rehome 25 dogs hidden in a secret compartment of a horsebox.
The operation, involving customs officials, Limerick and Tipperary gardai and the dog warden, centred on a jeep and horsebox stopped in Limerick Junction.
The concealed six adult dogs and 19 pups - six to eight weeks old - were seized and brought to Limerick dog pound in Mungret.
It is believed that the dogs started their journey in cramped conditions in County Limerick and were destined for the UK market.
Two of the dogs are pedigree Pugs, which are valued at around €900 each. The value of the 25 dogs on the black market in the UK runs into thousands of euros.
The vehicle was found to be using illegal or marked diesel and had a UK registration.
Nobody was arrested at the scene but the investigation is ongoing. It is not known if the dogs were stolen, came from puppy farms or were bought to sell for a profit in the UK.
A garda spokesperson said the dogs are currently impounded in Limerick.
“We are trying to establish ownership of the dogs. If anybody is missing a dog call to the pound to see if they can identify their dogs,” said the spokesperson.
Dog owners in County Limerick, whose pets have gone missing in recent weeks, have been frantically trying to find out if one of the 25 is theirs.
The dogs are in good conditions and John McCarthy, Limerick County Council veterinary officer, says there is a cross range of breeds.
“There are Pugs, Pomeranians. Jack Russells, Collies, Shih Tzus, Springer Spaniels, one Cocker Spaniel and one Irish Terrier. They are lovely dogs, there are 25 in total,” said Mr McCarthy.
“We have a lot of enquiries about rehoming them, we are basically holding them at the moment. We have a list of people who are interested and prepared to rehome them which is great,” added Mr McCarthy.
The vet encouraged all dog owners to micro-chip their dogs as the warden can contact them straight away if they find them.
Dog warden, Ollie Moran, who took the dogs to the pound following the seizure last Friday evening, says their phone has been hopping all week with enquiries.
“We’ve a big list of people looking for pups all year round. We can rehome the whole lot, it just shows the goodness of people,” said Mr Moran.
This seizure follows the high profile find of 100 puppies in Dublin last week.
Animal welfare campaigners say there is a lucrative trade in puppies from Ireland to the UK. They believe the illegal trafficking of puppies is now widespread because of the large sums of money involved.
One said this could be the “tip of the iceberg in terms of numbers”. Gardai say if you think one of the dogs in the pound could be yours contact 061 301604 or call to Mungret.