Irish police are investigating an incident where a marsupial thought to be a wallaby was released onto a dance floor during birthday celebrations in a Dublin hotel.
The small marsupial was released into a packed function room in the Clarion Hotel in Dublin last Saturday night while a DJ played the theme tune to the Australian television program, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.
A short video from the party was briefly circulated on Facebook before being withdrawn. The footage shows a man wearing a white shirt picking up a marsupial animal about three foot high. The crowd gather around them screaming and laughing. As people thrust cameras and camera phones into the animals face it makes frantic attempts to break free.
The video ends with the man holding the small animal to his groin as he made thrusting motions which were met with roars from the onlooking crowd.
The general manger of the Clarion Hotel, Garret Marrinan confirmed the incident had taken place and told the Irish Times that CCTV footage had been passed on to the police.
"We had a 30th birthday here in the hotel with between 150 and 200 guests and at about 11pm at night the duty manager noticed a group of people hovering on the dance floor. He went to investigate and noticed some kind of a strange animal coming out of a box and shortly after going back into it," said Mr Marrinan.
"He wasn't sure what it was exactly but, because we have a no pets policy in the hotel, [he] called security who forced the people who brought the box in to take it out of the hotel," he added.
The general manager insisted he didn’t not know that the animal involved was a marsupial until he was informed by the police.
"We're horrified by this. Absolutely nothing like this has happened before, either here or at other Clarion hotels, and this is something we don't want to be associated with. We're not very happy about this. We don’t condone it and we don’t think it is acceptable at all,” he added.
The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) has appealed for more information on Saturday nights incident.
Orla Aungier, operations manager with the DSPCA told RTÉ's Morning Ireland radio program that several people had contacted the society about the incident, they had also received some calls from individuals who had attended the birthday party.
Ms Aungier said that some callers had reported that the animal had died following the incident but the society was unable to confirm this.
"We know that the animal was videoed, and you can imagine the fear and stress it must have felt. It is completely unacceptable that an animal would be used in this way," she said.
“The current whereabouts and well being of the animal are unknown, although there have been unconfirmed reports that the creature later died. “We want to find out what happened to that animal,” Aungier added.