Eight dogs worth €5,000 have been seized by gardai in Co Tipperary after a routine motorway traffic check.
The animals were seized when officers stopped a van on the Dublin-Cork motorway outside Thurles for suspected speeding and then heard loud barking from animals coming from the rear of the vehicle.
Gardai found eight dogs in the back of the van.
"Shortly before 8pm gardai from the Thurles Roads Policing Unit were carrying out a speed check on the M8 motorway at Ashill, Thurles, when they saw a van exceeding the speed limit," a garda spokesperson said.
"The van was stopped and while speaking with the driver, gardai heard dogs barking in the rear of the van."
Officers immediately became suspicious and decided to conduct a detailed inspection of the vehicle.
"Gardai searched the van and found eight dogs that are believed to be worth in the region of €5,000."
There were two people in the van, including the driver.
Neither person could offer any detailed explanation to gardai as to the ownership of the dogs or the reason for having to transport so many animals at once.
None of the animals was found to be microchipped.
All were of different breeds and gardai were not satisfied with explanations offered and impounded the dogs.
"The dogs were seized by gardai and are currently in a local animal shelter," said a spokesperson.
"The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made."
Gardai said they were keeping an open mind in the investigation.
However, they are considering whether the animals were intended for the pet market or the hunting trade.
The dogs will remain at the Tipperary shelter pending the result of garda enquiries.
It is understood that both male and female dogs were involved in the seizure.