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Heiry Question: Ownership of Missy, an abandoned dog rescued from Beirstadt Mountain

Dhicon_thumb By DogHeirs Team | August 18, 2012 | Answers (22)

Missy, an abandoned dog being carried off of Beirstadt Mountain
Scott Washburn carries Missy off of Beirstadt Mountain in a backpack

When Scott and Amanda Washburn found an injured and abandoned dog named Missy on Beirstadt Mountain in Colorado, they were unable to carry her down that day, but vowed to return to help her. That's when a group of hikers, strangers to each other and to Missy, decided to make the grueling climb up the mountain to save Missy's life. 

When news of Missy's rescue broke on 14ers.com Anthony Ortolani, Missy's owner, asked to be reunited with Missy. Although Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office charged Anthony with animal cruelty, the case of Missy's ownership will go to court on October 16 and a judge will determine who Missy should go to live with.

Read the full story: Strangers unite to rescue abandoned dog from treacherous mountain



Who should Missy live with?
Total votes 204
Vote Scott and Amanda Washburn
Vote Anthony Ortolani
Vote Other (please explain)
Vote Not sure
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Answers To This Question

If the rescuers want to adopt the dog, they should be allowed to. If they do not, then I'm sure there are many other people who would love to have her. The original owners who abandoned her have zero claim to her since they left her for dead. I don't care what the circumstances were that led to the dog being abandoned, but the fact remains that they didn't even go back for her. They don't deserve to have her back, or any other dog for that matter.
You don't desert your friend to die. He left her injured and helpless. He should not have any dog ever again.
@ Pamela as someone else has already pointed out he did not have a child with him, the other person was an adult. @ All those that defend or offer excuses for Mr. Ortolani; He took a dog on rough terrain without providing it with proper gear, then he left her to die. How do you defend that? And consider this Mr. Ortolani and his friend are both full sized adults who claim they were unable to carry the dog out. My daughter and I are only 5 feet tall each and weigh a whopping 105 pounds each, yet when our full sized queensland heeler, who weighs 70 pounds, fell ill on a hike we carried him out, over rough terrain with an unexpected thunder storm blowing in, for five miles. Even sharing the load a 70 pound dog gets very heavy after that first 100 yards, when you're only 105 pounds yourself. If we could do it, they could've as well. I believe it would've been possible to carry the dog out that first day, before it lay there in freezing conditions, growing weaker every day. Mr. Ortolani should not get the dog back, or any other dog ever!
The hikers or someone else entirely. A dog is like a child, and you don't leave your child on top of a mountain injured and alone. That is sick. Anthony Ortolani should go to jail and never be able to have another pet
I can understand that Anthony Ortolani got in way over his head physically, mentally, emotional and skill wise. He got off the mountain and mentally froze. The question I have is where were his friends and family in all this. If you read through the thread on 14s.com his friends, family and even his boss chime in to defend him. Why couldn't they see he was that far out of it and do something themselves. I just put beerstat colo in Google intentionally misspelling it . The page that came up asked me if I meant Bierstadt, fifth link down lists 14s.com. Instead of figuring out that he royally messed up, he and his friends seem to be trying to justify his actions instead of learning from them. The question is has he learned enough from this experience to not repeat something like it. What I read in the thread on 14s.com says no. I think the legal question is going to come down to can I abbandon property somewhere, make no attempt to recover it, then when some one recovers it, reclaim it. The court system may apply pressure upon him to surrender Missy or face harsher penalties, or maybe not.
I totally agree with Gregg Houlden! How does he sleep at night.
@Pamela, Mr. Ortolani did NOT have a child with him that day. The other hiker was 19 years old, NOT A CHILD. I have been following this story for several weeks now, have read the entire thread at 14ers.com, as well as news stories & the Facebook page that the gentleman who rescued Missy set up. Most of us understand why AO did what he did that first day. What we don't understand is why he gave up so easily? He posted no signs anywhere at the trailhead, he did not do an internet search for animal rescue groups or other hiking groups who might have been able to help. He complained that he had bad blisters, but he was able to go out of town within a few days of leaving Missy on the mountain & he posted RIP Missy on his Facebook page within 24 hours of leaving her on the mountain. He had 8 days to try to do something, other than write this dog off. One went up on Saturday night after reading the Washburn's initial post at 14ers.com, but had no luck finding her. Others scouted the mountain on Sunday, but again, had no luck. The Washburns put together a rescue in less than 48 hours for a dog they didn't know. Missy SHOULD be with the Washburns. As an update, Missy is recovering nicely, although it will take some time for the pads on her paws to heal. Her feet were very badly damaged.
Anthony explained himself quite well on the thread I feel. I believe him when he professes his love for Missy and his remorse for what happened. HOWEVER, the facts don't lie. He was ill prepared and even if he was turned down by Sheriffs & SAR, he should have rallied help from any number of sources beginning with fellow hikers. A more worthy dog owner would not have settled for the assumption that death for Missy was inevitable. He should not have left town without further attempts to bring her down dead or alive. He could have posted signs, put it on FB, etc. He did not have an ID tag on her & his reasoning for that blows. A lot of reckless, careless traits that simply show him to be not up to the task and HONOR of keeping Missy. The Washburns should be able to love and care for her the rest of her life.
First of all I would NEVER leave my dog on a mountain to die,no way!! That poor dog was left by it's owner to die a painful lonely death.When you love someone,you don't do that!! He gave up his rights when he left that sweet girl to die.Missy would NEVER have left her owners side had it been the other way around.Along came a couple of Angels that saved this precious girls life,they went above and beyond the call of duty to save the life of an abandoned dog,a complete stranger to them at the time.They deserve to keep this dog and love for it for the rest of it's life.AND the previous owner should be fined and not allowed to ever have another dog!!! Im praying that Missy stays with Scott and Amanda!!! Thanks for saving Missy Scott & Amanda,you are Angels!
I understand why Ortolani had to leave her in the first place, but to never make any effort to go back for her, or to have efforts made to bring her back, is inexcusable. He just gave up on her, left her to die. He does not deserve to get her back. Scott and Amanda were the ones who made the effort to bring Missy down from the mountain, and they are the ones who should become her permanent guardians, because they have the kind of loving hearts she needs.
The original owners lost their rights when they wrote her off for dead. They did not go back, therefore they did not feel she was worth going back to find her dead or alive when it was SAFE to go back. This group of people did not know if she was going to survive or not, but they decided the right thing to do was go back. End of story.
New owners, no question
Pamela, I find it somewhat insulting and quite idiotic whe. people add to a post having not even the basic sense to read up on the subject matter first
Pamela, the whole story is linked above. In addition, within the article, there is a link to the original 46 page thread documenting the entire exchange, including Scott's original post about finding Missy and Anthony's posts regarding his actions during and after his hike with Missy.
however, if i had a child with me on a 14,000 high mountain peak and storms were moving in, my dog was injured and it was the dog or the child? have any of you ever backpacked before? every climbed a mountain? i can at least say i have backpacked mountains, but never technical style climbing. and i have backpacked with kids and teens. hard enough to get yourself down a mountain, let alone a child and an injured dog to boot. i guess if he had carried the dog down and left the child ya'll would be pissed at him for that too.

judge not lest ye be judged people. he made a tough call. should he have put up posters at the trailhead afterwards? yes. should he have looked for help afterwards? yes. should he have gone back after the storms and not assumed Missy's death? yes. and he knows all this and admits it.

Dogheirs, i think it's irresponsible of you not to post the whole story. you are only looking for villains. you seem to forget we are all humans and as such we make mistakes.
i need to see the WHOLE story please. i cannot answer the question on the tiny bit you have given me. why did Anthony leave her there? was it for the same reason that Scott and Amanda could not carry her down? frankly, i know that my friend and i would do everything to carry my dog down and he weighs 53 to 55 pounds.
He should never be allowed to own another animal. If a judge returns this dog to Anthony it will validate his selfish and careless behavior.
He just LEFT his dog on a mountain? What kind of sick inhumane person is the owner? I'd die beside any of my dogs before leaving them. He deserves to have his feet burnt and tied up and left on a mountain! People need to start treating dogs (or any animal) like they want to be treated themselves.
Scott and Amanda did what real dog owners would do....they should get her...breaks my heart what that guy did to Missy who looks so much like my GSD
Anthony Ortolani only wanted Missy after Scott and Amanda Washburn had gone above and beyond to save her. Anyone who abandons a dog like he did and never goes back for it does not deserve a dog! He left her to die. May the Karma bus run him down!
who ever she ( missy ) wants to live with
IMHO....I think Anthony Ortolani is a disgusting oxygen thief and should be in jail never mind owning Missy. He had the chance to get back up there or get help for Missy...I don't know how he sleeps at night.
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