A Colorado man who abandoned his dog during a hike on a mountain has agreed to give the dog to one of her rescuers as part of a plea deal.
Anthony Ortolani went hiking with a friend and his German Shepherd-Rottweiler mix, Missy, in early August on Mount Bierstadt. A turn of bad weather forced Ortolani to turn back, but Missy was having trouble walking because her paws were blistered. Ortolani tried to carry the 112-pound dog, but he says Missy fought with him and he eventually dropped her, only further injuring the K-9. With Missy bleeding and unable to walk, Ortolani decided to leave her behind as he and his friend sought shelter.
Ortolani called the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office when he got back to inform them of Missy's status on the mountain, but they told him a rescue mission would be too dangerous. Missy spent eight days on the mountain before help arrived in the form of a rescue team.
Ortolani was charged with animal cruelty for leaving Missy behind, and according to 9news.com, he recently reached a plea deal. As part of the agreement, he will give Missy to one of her rescuers.
It was clearly a gut-wrenching call for Ortolani, who says he has spent $5,000 in vet and boarding bills for Missy, to give up his dog. But he has come to terms with the decision.
"I don't want to give her up," Ortolani said. "I love her, but those people risked life and limb to get her out of there, and that has got to be worth something."
Before their disastrous hike in August, Ortolani had taken Missy out on plenty of excursions. Had they been able to summit Mount Bierstadt, it would have ben Missy's sixth summit of one of Colorado's famed 14er mountains. But Ortolani has shouldered responsibility for the mistake and apologized for taking the dog with him on the August hike.
(H/T to Off The Bench)