Dog freezes to death after mishap at hotel

Couple returns without dog after staff takes pets out of hotel room
Dog freezes to death after mishap at hotel
Veronica, Lulah, Robert

Veronica and Robert Martinez describe it as their worst nightmare. The Madison couple, who traveled out of state over the weekend with their two dogs, came home with just one.

“I really can’t even put it into words. To have your dog die that way is not something I ever wish to have anyone go through,” dog owner Robert said.

For Robert and Veronica, Lulah, their 1-year-old dachshund, was much more than just a pet.

“We have two dogs and they are our girls. Those are our kids and the fact that she was just taken out of our hands, out of our room when she shouldn’t have been and lost, it’s like a mother’s nightmare come true,” Veronica said.

The couple left their two dogs inside their Residence Inn hotel room in Coralville, Iowa, Saturday. Hotel staff said because of several noise complaints, they took the dogs outside to go for a walk, but Lulah got away.

A maintenance worker ran after her, but staff eventually stopped looking.

“You should never have touched our dogs and taken them outside. Then the fact that they stopped looking afterwards and there is a huge time gap where they are not accountable at all for looking for her is absolutely horrendous,” Veronica said.

The hotel never required the couple to sign a pet waiver, though it is their normal procedure. The waiver would have contained contact information, but without it the hotel was unable to reach the couple until hours later.

“We have no idea what happened when our dogs were in the hands of the hotel staff,” Robert said.

The couple found Lulah outside the hotel in the cold 12 hours after she went missing. They immediately rushed her to an emergency veterinarian clinic, where she later died from hypothermia.

The Martinezes returned home without Lulah, leaving a void for the family.

“There should be strict policies, they should not be allowed to be taken outside where they can get loose and you’re not around to help. That should never happen,” Veronica said.

In a statement to News 3, Jay LeaVesser, a spokesperson for the hotel, said, “Our staff and management are extremely saddened at this event and we are doing everything we can to address this incident in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties involved. Furthermore, we are reviewing our policies that deal with animal removal and taking all necessary action to ensure this never happens again.”