Man who left dog on 14er faces animal cruelty charges

9:04 PM, Aug 17, 2012   |    comments
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"We base that on information we learned that the dog had been up there for eight days in this rugged terrain. The weather had been inclement on certain days with rain and snow and the fact that he made little attempt to go back up and get the dog or try to make any other arraignments to retrieve the dog and get it back," Sgt. Rick Safe with the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Department said.

The charge against Anthony Ortolani was filed Friday following an investigation by the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office.

"We learned from the vet that the dog was severely dehydrated from the time it spent up there on the ridge," Sgt. Safe said. "It had numerous cuts and lacerations on all four legs and its feet. A couple of the wounds have gotten infected. The dog is doing great now and is expected to make a full recovery."

Ortolani's next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 16.

A picture of the dog, a female German Shepherd named Missy, was posted on a website along with a message about the dog being injured and stranded near Mt. Bierstadt at around 13,000 feet in late July.

The photo was taken by a hiker who located the dog but was unable to get her off the mountain by himself.

Almost immediately, hikers and climbers organized a plan to go up and rescue the dog. On Aug. 6, eight men met at the trailhead and began the climb up Mt. Bierstadt.
"Just the thought of a dog being left up there, I mean, I figured it is worth a chance to try to go find it," Chase Lindell, one of the rescuers said.

At 8 a.m. the rescue group reached the Sawtooth ridge and spotted the dog.

When Missy was eventually located, she had been on the mountain for eight days without food or water.

"The dog seemed really weak, and it couldn't move much at all," Lindell said. "And given the terrain, there was no way the dog was walking out of there. So, we were able to get the dog into a backpack."

The group started giving Missy some food and water.

"A very sweet dog. I mean, you could tell she was worn out, but she was happy," Alex Gelb, one of the rescuers, said.

They carried Missy off the mountain through a snow squall and got her to a veterinarian where she was treated for injuries to her paws and dehydration.

The story of the rescue quickly spread on the website.

Ortolani also posted the story of how the dog became stranded. He was hiking with the dog when her paws became blistered and were too sore for her to continue walking.

With the dog unable to walk, Ortolani says he tried to carry the dog off the mountain but was unable. He says that attempts to lower the dog with ropes were injuring the dog even more, and with a storm approaching, he was forced to leave the dog behind.

Once down the mountain, Ortolani says he contacted a search-and-rescue group and the sheriff's department but was told it was too risky to send a rescue crew up for the dog.

In his posting on the Ortolani says, "I am at a complete loss of words. My gratitude for the people involved in this is without measure."

He went on to say, "I humbly beg the forgiveness of the community and most of all my Missy Girl. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart."

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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