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A German Man Abandon’s his dog on a Colorado Mountain

Updated on September 19, 2012

Anthony Ortolani was charged with animal cruelty for abandoning his injured dog on Mt. Beirstadt in Colorado.

Source

Hiking Mt. Bierstadt

Ortolani, his friend and Missy his dog were hiking on Mt. Beirstadt in Colorado. Missy was hurt crossing the “Saw tooth” a very rough section of the mountain. A snow storm was coming in so Ortolani and friend decided they needed to get between mountains to escape the bad weather. Missy’s paws were bloodied and she couldn’t continue across the rough terrain.

Ortolani says that he carried her for over two hours and part of the way they tried to use ropes to lower Missy down the mountain to safer area. But in lowering Missy her legs kept hitting across the mountain and she was getting more injuries to the point she could no longer stand and was no longer moving. Ortolani says he had to make the tough decision to leave Missy on the mountain because continuing to take Missy down the mountain was jeopardizing the men’s safety.

Why didn’t Ortolani go back?

Ortolani says his physical condition was significantly deteriorated and his emotional condition was not any good. He thought Missy was dead. That is way he did not try to go back for Missy. He did call a friend who contacted the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office but was told the region was too dangerous and crews don't rescue animals.

Missy was on the mountain 8 days injured and alone suffering from dehydration and cuts on all four of her paws. With no food or water.

Source

The Rescue

Fortunately two hikers in the area found her and worked very hard to save her. They did everything they could to save Missy, a dog they did not know. She was very close to death when they found her. They knew we weren’t going to be able to get her out by themself. Her paws were completely raw and her elbows were torn up. They used a first aid kit to treat Missy's wounds and then turned to 14ers.com, a social networking site for hikers, to enlist help in saving Missy.

A team of eight hikers returned to the mountain days later and persevered through a dangerous blizzard to reach Missy. They carried her down the mountain in a large hiking backpack to end a rescue mission lasting a whopping nine hours.

What would you do?

If you were faced with a dangerous situation such as this would you risk your life for your dog? Would you be able to leave your dog in harm’s way to save yourself? This is what Ortolani said "I am ashamed that it wasn't me who got her off of the mountain, I underestimated the good will and resolve of the hiking community of Colorado, and I am eternally grateful," Ortolani wrote this on a 14ers.com message board.

Ortolani now faces charges of animal cruelty. He also says he has received death threats. He initially said he would fight to retain custody of Missy but has since decided to let one of the rescuers keep Missy. He also says he has paid over $5000 in vet and boarding bills for Missy.

Should Anthony Ortolani get his dog back or should he be charged with animal cruelty? What is your opinion?

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    • Raptorcat profile image

      Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

      I have been following this story since it first came up. The guy did nothing to try and mount a rescue of the dog and no one, but he and his girlfriend knew that the dog was up there until 8 days later when a couple came across her and decided to call up and mount a rescue. It took them less than 3 days to coordinate that effort and bring the dog down the mountain.

      He has lost custody of the animal and now she is in the care of people that care about her properly.

      Ortalani is going to get what he deserves.

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image

      tlmcgaa70 4 years ago from south dakota, usa

      had it been me i would never have taken my dog over country rough enough to injure her in the first place. that being said, people make mistakes. i am sure he loved his dog, but sometimes loving a dog isnt enough if you havent got the knowledge or even just common sense to keep them safe and healthy. she is probably better off in a new home, only time will tell that though.

      also...the people who are sending him death threats are putting themselves on a lower level than that man. people think they would never or would do if in similar circumstances but NO one knows for sure what they will do or how they will react until they have lived through it themselves. at the time i am sure that man did what he thought was best...these people sending death threats arent in a situation where they must make such a decision. there is no excuse for their actions.

    • Raptorcat profile image

      Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

      The dog was not properly prepared for hiking in that terrain at that altitude.

      There is no excuse for doing that to a dog. You don't take your dog into high altitude mountains without proper training, just as we would not take a hike in that sort of terrain at that altitude without training.

      Like I said, he has no excuse. But you are right, the death threats are too much. Let the law deal with him.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Raptorcat, I agree Ortanlani did nothing to mount a rescue. My question is why would he fight to get Missy back after she was rescued but not fight to save her life. Maybe he truly thought it was best to leave her on the mountain but wouldn't you go back?

      Never the less thank you for your comments

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      tlmcgaa70

      I do think that people make mistakes. I think probably he has taken Missy mountain climbing before. Missy probably enjoys hiking as well. the gross mistake that he made is not to make any attempt at all to save his faithful friend.

      I also agree that sending hate messages to him does noone any good.

      Thank you for weighing in on this hot topic.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Raptorcat...I totally agree. Another question...he didn't leave any food or water for Missy. didn't he bring any?? You are right, he was ill pre paired.

    • Raptorcat profile image

      Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

      He probably fought to get her back in a vain attempt to look like a concerned dog owner, but the question is that if he took her up there, how could he NOT bring her back down the same way?

      As far as having her up in the mountains before, he has had her at lower elevations, but never at the altitude they were at, so the dog was not prepared for the terrain or altitude. That much was made clear when the story first came up a couple of weeks ago.

      He took the dog to an altitude and terrain that she was not prepared for, in any way, to take a long hike or climb.

      As far as food, and water, no, he did not bring any with him for the dog. That is another issue that was brought up during the initial story.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      In my opinion he deserves to loose her and be convicted for animal cruelty. And your right,he probably did try to get her back for appearance sake

    • Raptorcat profile image

      Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

      Well the judge decided the dog's fate a couple of days ago. She stays with one of the rescuers and does NOT go back to the slimebag that left her to die on that mountain.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Yes I did see that the judge would not let the dog go back to him. And he shouldn't get her back

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great well written hub and very interesting, and i do agree with you that he should have been convicted for animal cruelty. Some people should not own a dog or any other type of pet.

      Vote up and more !!!

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      kashmir56,

      thank you for stopping buy and leaving me comments. And your right, some people should not own dogs.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      When I first read this story I was devastated and I don't even know this dog. I am very thankful that the hikers came along afterwards and rescued her. I'm just glad she is safe and taken care of now. I don't believe I would ever take my dog with me on a rough mountain trip like this.

      The hikers who came to her rescue are angels to come back for her. I do not believe the original owner should have her now. I think the rescuers should keep her. They love her enough to go back and save her. I hope Ortoloni has learned his lesson (the hard way of course) and will not make this mistake again, i.e. not valuing his pet enough.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Efficient Admin,

      You are right,I think the rescuers are angels too and that they should be able to keep Missy. Thank you for your comments

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Personally, as an animal lover who has rescued many critters from terrible living situations, I would never have put Missy in the uncertain, precarious position of mountain climbing in the first place. Although, it is not difficult believing that Ortoloni loved his beautiful canine companion, he used very poor judgment. His recounting of the details sounds believable (esp the description of his futile attempts to rescue Missy, further debilitating her by, again, using thoughtless judgment). The fact that he paid for her medical care after others managed to rescue her tells me that he cared about the ultimate outcome of the dog and accepted responsibility. However, the situation would have been avoided altogether had he made the decision to avoid exposing Missy to the unpredictable elements and hazards inherent with the arduous activity. As adults, we are accountable for the decisions we make when we take on the care of children, animals and every living entity that cannot care for themselves. Most parents, even those that strike out in anger at their children, would say they love their children. However, when poor decisions put them in jeopardy, they are removed from the home and ideally, into a better situation. Animals deserve no less than an environment conducive to their well-being.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Amy, You are absolutely right my. Part of owning a pet is owning the responsibility of having a pet and if the pet owner does not live up to the responsibility then the animal should be removed.

      thank you Amy for your response.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Interesting story. I would not have left her in the first place I would have figured out something. You can come up with genius ideas if you just think about it.

      Why would you take a dog? My dog would go running off after any bird, rabbit or anything he saw. I would never take him on a hike like this a walk but not a hike

      I don't think he should get her back. He didn't care enough for her to go back and get her. I don't think he would ever take care of her the right way.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      this is all very sad.. the poor dog.. He should have tried harder.. I cant judge but what I have heard and read he should have tried harder.. Great hub

      sharing

      Debbie

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 4 years ago from California

      As an animal lover this hub just jumped out at me, compelling me to read more! After I finished I am so glad that he was held accountable for his decision to leave the defenseless and injured pup the way he did! No excuse. There are many different things he could have done to ensure this Missys safety or at least minimize the dog's suffering. How about not taking her with him... or better yet - not adopting this sweet dog in the first place.

      As pet parents one takes on the responsibility for their safety - no matter what. This guy falls short! The good news and happy ending is that this dog survived - things happen for a reason.

      Great story Rhonda! Voted up and awesome.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Chatkath , you are so right. I look at my two pups and wonder how anyone that"Says" they love their dog could so something like this. Heck...I have a hard time leaving my guys at home because they make me feel so bad. There are just times when I know its best for them (when its too hot out). Thank you for your comments and weighing in.

    • Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

      Barbara Anne Helberg 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

      @RhondaHumphreys1...Ortalani seems to have little or no sense of what it is like to bond with a dog, to love and be loved by the most loving creature on Gods' green earth -- or on snowy earth.

      Ortalani certainly doesn't deserve to have Missy; he in fact didn't seem to express true interest in having her back, even after saying he regretted not acting in a more aggressive manner to rescue her.

      It's hard to understand a person who would give so little effort to help his dog in crisis. One wonders why he even included her in this grueling mountain trip to begin with.

    • RhondaHumphreys1 profile image
      Author

      Rhonda Humphreys 4 years ago from Michigan

      Barb,Doesn't it make you wonder? He acted as if he should gain some credibility because he paid $5,000 in vet bill because he cared so much. In my opinion if he cared that much there wouldn't have been vet bills because he wouldn't have put her in harms way.

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