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A Colorado woman filed a lawsuit against Starbucks after, she says, a cup of hot tea killed her dog and left her literally and figuratively scarred for life.
Colorado resident, Deanna Solas-Solando, claims a barista at a Denver Starbucks drive-thru didn’t follow company policy when she handed her a venti (large) hot tea without a heat sleeve or the company-mandated double-cup with a lid that wasn’t secure.
According to court documents, Solas-Solando says hot water began spilling from the cup, melting her clothes and burning her thighs and abdomen.
The woman claims that when she began screaming, her dog, Alexander, jumped onto her lap where he, too, was badly burned. Alexander was taken to an emergency veterinarian for treatment, but died shortly after arrival as a result of the severe scalding and burns.
Starbucks issued a statement refuting Salas-Solano’s allegations. The company would not release surveillance footage of the incident, but say that it shows Salas-Solano on her cellphone, with the dog on her lap as she reached out of her car window for the tea. Starbucks says the video shows the cup did have a heat sleeve.
It is unclear if the tea spilled because of an unsecured lid, or because Salas-Solano was distracted by her cell-phone or if the dog already sitting on her lap bumped the cup.
“We have video evidence that clearly contradicts the claims made by the plaintiff and believe they are without merit,” the company said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting our case in court. While we are sympathetic to Ms. Salas-Solano and the injuries she sustained, we don’t have any reason to believe our partner (employee) was at fault.”
Regardless of the cause of the spill, the dog’s death was absolutely avoidable and would easily have been prevented if he’d been secured in the back or passenger seat, unable to access his owner’s lap. For information about safely restraining dogs in vehicles, please see this article: Auto Safety: Safe Restraints for Dogs Riding in Cars