Alexander Scholl of the Australian Super Circus Sydney with one of his wallabies

AN ANIMAL rights group has offered to buy two wallabies from a controversial circus owner before he leaves Ireland today, because it fears he plans to put the animals to death.

Alexander Scholl, the owner of Australian Super Circus Sydney, has denied he rented one of his wallabies to revellers at a nightclub in a Dublin hotel, who let the animal loose at a 30th birthday party 15 days ago.

There was international outrage over the incident after footage emerged showing the distressed animal cruelly being thrown around the room. Scholl, whose circus is sited two minutes' walking distance from the Clarion Hotel in Liffey Valley where the wallaby was let loose, also denied he planned to kill his two wallabies before he left Ireland today. There were initial concerns that the animal in the video was dead but investigating gardaí said there was nothing to suggest the animal died and it was most likely retuned to its owner.

The Animal Rights Action Network (Aran) called to Scholl's circus last week and requested that he hand over the two wallabies. The group offered to pay for their lifetime care in the Limerick Animal Welfare sanctuary. Scholl, whose circus is leaving Ireland today, rejected the offer.

Aran director John Carmody said the group decided to offer the circus owner money for his two wallabies before he left Ireland.

"We have been told by a reliable source that the two wallabies will be put to death before the circus leaves. We have offered to take the wallabies from him and pay for their lifetime care. He doesn't seem interested in our offer. So we have now decided to try and offer to buy the animals from him. If it means saving their lives, we are willing to pay him," he said. Scholl said he does not plan to put his two wallabies to death and is bringing them with him to Finland via France. Through Aran, an Australian businessman living in Ireland has offered a €10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the cruelty against the wallaby depicted in the video.

Partygoers danced with it roughly and crudely to the theme tune of Australian television show Skippy The Bush Kangaroo. There have been allegations that the animal was plied with alcohol and ecstasy but these are entirely unsubstantiated, according to garda sources. Aran has received confidential information that five revellers at the party chipped in €50 each to rent the wallaby for the party. Scholl told the Sunday Tribune he would never rent a wallaby to a nightclub because it would be cruel to the animal. However, photographs have emerged of Scholl holding one of his wallabies at Earth Nightclub in Drogheda, Co Louth, last October.