WESTMINSTER, Colo. – The man who left his injured dog up one of Colorado’s 14,0000 feet peaks, is now saying that one of her rescuers should be allowed to adopt her.
Anthony Ortolani, of Westminster, spoke out to CBS 4 for the first time since the incident last month. He said he’s received death threats for what happened. He takes full responsibility for bringing the dog on a hike that was too difficult for her and then leaving her there.
The paws of his dog, a 5-year-old German shepherd/Rottweiler mix named Missy, started to bleed, he said. He said he tried to carry the 112-pound dog for two hours, but it proved too difficult. There was a storm moving in so he left her there.
Ortolani made a call to the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Department but was told conditions were to dangerous for a rescue mission. Ortolani gave up, and thought Missy was left for dead.
A photo started circulating on the internet of a dog found abandoned near Mt. Bierstadt, at 13,000 feet. The dog was injured too badly to walk. It turns out the dog had been there for eight days without food or water.
“Making the decision to leave her there — it wasn’t abandoning her. My intention was to call search and rescue and get some help,” he said.
“Everybody says ‘Why didn’t you go back?’ My physical condition was significantly deteriorated; my emotional condition was no good. I thought she was dead,” Ortolani told CBS4.
Missy is being held in a shelter while the case goes through the courts. Ortolani was charged with animal cruelty.
One of the rescuers objected to Ortolani taking custody of Missy, and now he seems to agree.
“I would much rather see her with one of the rescuers who are very affectionate to her obviously then in a kennel somewhere in Clear Creek County,” he said.
Cost could be a factor as well. Ortalani says he’s paid close to $5,000 in vet and boarding bills.
Custody won’t be decided until the court case is resolved.