Shelley Mamott, Staff Writer
Last month, 31 year old, Anthony Ortolani made the difficult decision to abandon his 5-year-old German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, Missy, while hiking on one of Colorado’s tallest mountains.
On August 3, Ortolani was hiking on Mount Bierstadt with his friend’s 19-year-old son when bad weather started to move in. Missy’s feet had become blistered and she was unable to walk. The two men tried to carry the 112-pound dog for over two hours before deciding to leave her on the mountain to make it to safety.
Once Ortolani made it down the mountain, he called the County Sheriff’s office, but was told it was too dangerous for an animal rescue. Missy survived 8 days alone on the mountain before being rescued by a group of volunteer rescuers.
The rescue operation was made possible thanks to Scott Washburn and his wife Amanda. They found Missy on August 11, severely dehydrated and in bad shape. They could not carry her down, so they bandaged her paws and left her with water before organizing a group of experienced hikers to bring her down to safety.
Ortolani was charged with animal cruelty but will plead guilty to a lesser charge. Giving Missy up was discussed as part of the plea bargain, but was not the reason for Ortolani’s decision, according to his attorney. Ortalani has agreed to give Missy to one of the rescuers, the exact one was not made public.
Ortaloni said, “I don’t want to give her up – I love her – but those people risked life and limb to get her out of there, and that has got to be worth something.”