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Dog abandoned on mountain to be adopted by one of the hikers who rescued her

P8010053_thumb By Tamara | September 17, 2012 | Comments (9)

Missy was rescued off a mountain top
Missy being rescued off of Mount Bierstadt. Photo courtesy: Alex Gelb

Missy, a dog rescued by a group of Colorado hikers after she was left on Mount Bierstadt, will live with one of her rescuers, after her original owner agreed to relinquish ownership.

Anthony Ortolani, Missy's owner, said he had to abandon her in order to help a young friend safely down the mountain. He and his 19-year-old hiking companion carried the 112-pound German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix for two hours after her paws became injured. When the weather deteriorated and they could no longer carry her they made the difficult decision to leave her.

Missy being rescued off mountainBut Ortolani's actions were heavily criticized when he did not arrange to go back for her after being told Search and Rescue does not retrieve animals.

Missy was found alive eight days later by a pair of hikers who posted pictures to a popular hiker's forum online, which lead to an incredible rescue by a group of strangers determined to rescue Missy off the mountain.

The Denver Post reports that Ortolani said he had received death threats after the story came out. After receiving the threats, Ortolani grew concerned for the safety of his family and for Missy as well.

Ortolani faced animal cruelty charges but will plead guilty to a less serious violation and has agreed to give Missy to one of her rescuers.

Missy is currently in Clear Creek County animal shelter. Ortolani said, "I would much rather see her with one of the rescuers who were very affectionate to her obviously then sitting in a kennel somewhere in Clear Creek County."

His attorney, Jennifer Edwards of the Animal Law Center, said they have reached a tentative deal with the Clear Creek District Attorney’s Office. Ortalani could enter a plea this week.

"Mr. Ortolani wants the best for Missy," said Edwards. "I took this case because I want to see some changes in how mountain communities handle this type of situation. We would hope that there be some sort of process in place to assist animal owners who choose to take their beloved pets up into the mountains."

"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," Ortolani said. 

Video below.

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Comments on this Article

Just can't see how he did not go back.... prepared this time... shame...
I'm glad this story is going to have a happy ending at least, as so many don't. Ortolani should have never taken the dog into the mountains without protection for the dogs pads, secondly, he should have never pushed so far up the trail as to cause distress for the dog, third, he should have been more aware of the possibility of inclement weather and taken adequate steps for both the dog and the juvenile accompanying him on the outing, which predicated him leaving the dog on the mountain. All in all, he wasn't prepared for what he was doing and didn't take the proper steps to protect the animal. His priorities were all in the wrong places; even days later when he should have been going back up the mountain to retrieve the dog, instead of leaving him up there without food, water, or shelter under freezing temperatures. Ortolani simply gave up on the dog long before he gave him away. At least now, Missy has better than a fighting chance; she has someone who loves her.
Thank God Missy will FINALLY be in good and loving hands. Her prior owner is a disgrace and his excuses, just that...excuses.
I was astonished by the comment of the guy's attorney that the problem was lack of rescue services for animals. An animal should have never been taken on a dangerous hike like this. The problem was not the lack of rescue services but the former owner's poor judgment; his decision to take the dog on a dangerous hike in the first place; his decision to abandon her; and his decision to not make serious efforts to rescue her himself. Thank goodness for the caring people who did rescue her.
WOndering which day this was actually posted as it is to be on the Ellen DeGeneres show.....but today, Monday or Tuesday....?? Guess will have to DVR both, cuz definately want to see this outcome. And....have to say To H-E double L, to the rescuers that said they do not go up to rescue animals.....what a crying shame on them!!!! Grrrrrrr....let it be one of their human kids, and WE say......ah, sorry but we don't go to rescue them kinds........
AMEN!!! Wonderful ending to a terrible story.
OK i am a little confused. the owner had to rescue his friend and when he told rescue personnel about his dog he was told Search and Rescue does not retrieve animals. so whats is the dogs life worth? so who should they not be charged for animal abuse. they were told about the stranded dog and they have the gall to say they don't retrieve animals and that's ok with everyone, to let the dog suffer for 8 days. maybe the owner was too weak to return and no one would help him . rescue should have went to the dogs aid. do you think the owner wanted to leave his dog there if that was the case he would never had mentioned the dog. the man asked for help and this was rescue's response we don't rescue animals . if it was me i would be furious with the rescue people for not helping me !!
Yay!! I'm so happy for Missy to be going to live with her courageous rescuers!! May God bless and watch over both Missy and her rescuers as they begin their lives together.. PS Who would have taken a dog anywhere and consciously known that there would be a REMOTE possibility they ALL might not make it back to civilization??? Not a person who deserves precious Missy!
I think they have reached the best solution for all concerned. I am glad Missy's owner finally decided to give her up. He should never have taken her up on the mountain if he wasn't willing to do everything in his power to bring her back down.
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