An animal cruelty investigation is underway in Ireland after dozens of puppies were seized from two cars in Dublin.
The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it believes the disturbing find -- which the charity says is one the biggest its seen in recent years -- is a "case of animal trafficking from puppy farms within Ireland, destined for the UK."
According to the BBC, the tiny animals, which included Jack Russells, cocker spaniels and beagles, were rescued after two cars were stopped on the road by police. It is believed that the dogs "were to be sold on the black market for several thousand euros."
Though various media outlets reported that up to 50 puppies were found, Gillian Bird, DSPCA's head of education, media and public relations, told The Huffington Post that the number was actually 36.
Two men were reportedly arrested at the scene.
The pups were soon taken to the DSPCA, where they were found to be suffering from a whole slew of ailments. A press release states:
The puppies…are suffering from a number of treatable conditions including mange, earmites, fleas, eye infections and parasitic infections. Many of the pups have had their tails docked and their dew claws removed and are receiving treatment of minor infections. Several of the puppies are receiving special care as they were too young to be removed from their mothers.
The Irish Times notes that "finds such as this are especially problematic at this time of year."
“We are not seeing huge amounts of it, but it is something that is always there, especially when it is coming up to Christmas and people want to give puppies as presents,” Bird told the newspaper.
In light of this incident, the DSPCA is calling on the public to be "extra vigilant when considering buying a puppy."
“Please be careful where you source your puppy,“ CEO Brian Gillen said. “With so many online sources of pups these days the public need to be vigilant. Do not buy from the boot of a car or a van and always arrange to meet the puppy with its parents at the breeders home – the conditions the mother is living in is a good indication of the health and welfare of the animals.”
According to the Irish Times, the case is currently under investigation and the puppies will be up for adoption once the investigation is complete.
For more of these adorable pups, click through this slideshow of photographs: