Gardaí helped foil a puppy thief as he was preparing to board a ferry in Belfast with four foxhounds that had been stolen almost 320km away.
A search for the four puppies was launched on June 21 after they were stolen from their home in Craughwell, Co Galway.
The foxhound puppies, worth more than €500 each, were only four weeks old and too young to be separated from their mother when they were taken.
The three male puppies and one female - which are white, black and tan - were taken from their mother at their home in Co Galway.
It emerged yesterday that the four were among a number of dogs recovered by Belfast City Council Animal Welfare Service at Belfast Harbour on their way to a ferry.
The discovery was part of a multi-agency cross-Border operation involving An Garda Síochána in Galway and Monaghan, Belfast Harbour Police, Belfast City Council's Animal Welfare Service, the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA), and the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA).
The dogs were found during a search and seizure operation at Belfast Harbour at around 11pm on June 23.
The pups have since been returned to their owner and reunited with their mother and are said to be in good health.
One man is currently under investigation in relation to offences under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.
Gardaí are appealing to the public to take extra crime prevention measures when it comes to caring for pets, particularly high-value breeds of dogs, amid a spate of dog robberies across the country.
An Garda Síochána advised dog owners to have their pets microchipped so they may be located if they are stolen.
Gardaí also urge anyone with high-value pets to ensure that they have adequate security in place.