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Ariz. woman says service dog wolfed down meth from hotel floor

Posted at 4:28 PM, Oct 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-16 17:17:22-04

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KPHO) -- An Arizona woman wants a national hotel chain to pay her vet bill after she said her service Chihuahua gobbled up meth from a hotel room floor.

Natalie Lowry said that about two hours after checking into room 228 at a North Phoenix La Quinta Inn last Thursday that her service dog named Sticks started acting strangely.

“She was running forwards and backwards and side to side,” said Lowry. “She was throwing her head."

As a result, Lowry, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and relies on Sticks for comfort, rushed the five-year-old dog to an emergency pet hospital.

The vet performed a urinalysis on Stick that tested for toxins. The pup tested positive for methamphetamine.

"I was was pretty shocked. Obviously, I know it's not mine. And, I know we've been in the car for the last 14 hours. The only other place she's been is the hotel,” said Lowry.

After getting the disturbing diagnosis, Lowry headed back to her hotel room only to discover trash and some type of weapon under the bed. The items had apparently missed by cleaning crews.

When Lowry told the hotel receptionist about the problem, she was told she'd have to wait until morning to speak with a manager.

"I told her, well, I'm not staying here another night. There's methamphetamine in the room," Lowry said.

Sticks is recovering, but Lowry got stuck with a vet bill that totaled nearly $1,000. She said she paid the bill with her credit card. She is hoping La Quinta will reimburse her.

"It could've easily been somebody's child that had eaten the drugs and then I'm sure they would be taking things more seriously," said Lowry. "She's like a child to me. I can't imagine... living without her."

A corporate spokeswoman for La Quinta, who said she has been in contact with the general manager of the North Phoenix location, said the company is conducting an internal investigation of the room.