Seven puppies have been rescued at Fishguard Port in Wales as part of a multi-agency operation tackling the illegal puppy trade.
They were discovered in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The puppies - two foxhound-type and five cocker spaniel-type dogs - were found in two crates in the boot of a car.
The vehicle came off the Rosslare to Fishguard ferry at around 1.30am, which had been delayed by four hours.
The two foxhound-type dogs are believed to be 10-weeks-old, and the cocker spaniel-type dogs are around eight-weeks-old.
The ISPCA, who is now caring for the dog, says they were all subject to "welfare concerns".
The driver of the vehicle was told that the puppies were not able to continue their journey and subsequently signed over the puppies to the care of the RSPCA.
ISPCA chief inspector Conor Dowling said: "This incident again shows how some people are willing to disregard the welfare of defenceless animals and break the law purely to make a quick buck.
"Thankfully, on this occasion, multi-agency cooperation meant that they were stopped.
"The illegal smuggling of these puppies will now be investigated further".
The seven puppies remained at the port overnight and were fed and watered by the RSPCA.
A vet confirmed they were fit to travel back to Ireland.
RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs said: "Our priority was the welfare of the puppies, and in conjunction with other agencies investigations will continue.
"The RSPCA is delighted to be able to work so closely with a number of partner agencies like the ISPCA to target puppy dealers, and their involvement with us demonstrates the importance of working together in the interests of animal welfare.
"We are hugely grateful as to the commitment they have shown this critical issue."
RSPCA deputy chief inspector Julie Fadden accompanied them on the ferry and handed them over on Thursday evening to the ISPCA.
ISPCA centre manager Eva Ellis said: "The seven puppies were assessed on Friday morning by a veterinary practitioner at the ISPCA National Animal Centre in Longford.
"Nearly all of them are infested with lice and have a heavy worm burden. They were also filthy and needed to be bathed and treated for worms, fleas, mites and lice.
"The puppies are being kept in the ISPCA Isolation unit where they will be carefully monitored. They are not currently available for re-homing but will be added to the re-homing page on the ISPCA website when they are ready for adoption".