UPDATE: Man Charged With Animal Cruelty After Abandoning Dog on Colorado Mountain

Read Original Story Here: Group of Strangers Come Together to Rescue Dog From Colorado Mountain

Missy with her group of heroes who rescued her from a 14 000 foot Colorado mountain.


After abandoning his German Shepherd, Missy, on a steep Colorado mountain, Antony Joseph Ortolani, 29, is being prosecuted. The was left on the 14 065 foot Mt. Bierstadt.

It was announced by the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office that Ortolani will be facing a criminal charge of cruelty to animals.

Ortolani claims he was forced to leave Missy after a storm blew in and he had to get his young hiking companion to safety. Missy was unable to keep up because her feet were so cut up from the rocky mountainside.

Over a week later, Scott Washburn and his wife found the dog on a climb. Missy was too heavy for them to carry down the mountain alone, and she was unable to walk herself.

“My wife broke down crying at the thought of leaving the dog to die,” said Washburn.

Once he returned home, Washburn posted a picture of the dog on a popular forum for climbers, 14ers.com. That discussion sparked a rescue mission, with eight volunteer climbers. The group set out early Monday morning to rescue the dog.

After nine hours, the group was successful in finding Missy and bringing her back down the mountain. The group of eight each took turns carrying her down in a backpack.

The German Shepherd had been carried down Mt. Bierstadt in a backpack by a group of climbers.

Following her rescue, Missy was taken to a vet. She is currently recovering from dehydration and cut paws.

Once Ortolani saw the post on 14ers.com about Missy, he asked to have the dog returned to him. Clear Creek Animal Control declined his request as they conducted an investigation into the case.

Forum members on 14ers.com, and several other sites that covered the story, were outraged, as they pointed out that Ortolani didn’t even, at the very least, put up posters with his contact information if the dog was found.

Washburn, along with several other members of the rescue team, are all hoping to adopt Missy.

“I just don’t think that his actions have shown that he is a responsible dog owner,” Washburn said. “We understand that he had to leave her there. My wife and I did the same thing. But we ended up going back for her, and we went to some pretty extreme lengths to do so. In my opinion, that is not a responsible dog owner, who doesn’t really care about her.”

“The dog was basically abandoned up there,” stated Sgt. Rick Safe of the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office.

“He [Ortolani] made no initial attempt. After three days, he thought the dog was deceased so he made no attempts to reclaim the dog,” Page said.


  1. Anonymous says on  08/18/2012 at 1:13 pm

    thank you to those awesome people who went back up that mountain after her… You guys deserve some recognition and big hugs… As for her owner… I hope he receives the maximum allowed by law…. the least you could have done was post a fllyer or ask for help…. but instead you abandoned her!! SHAME on you!!

    • Anonymous says on  08/18/2012 at 7:30 pm

      I agree….I hope everyone that knows this team that went to save her, the couple that rounded them up AND the authorities involved who said “No” that he doesn’t get the dog back and is charged….Finally a place that takes care of it animals….Bless every single one of you that was involved in this beautiful rescue of a beautiful dog!

  2. Anna says on  08/18/2012 at 1:39 pm

    Kudos to the whole group of volunteers who saved Missy. A group of strangers banded together to save her life … where was the owner? If they could do it, he certainly could have done much more to try and save Missy. He left her to die. I’m glad the authorities are throwing the book at him.

  3. Anonymous says on  08/18/2012 at 2:26 pm

    You guys ROCK, tanks for all u do!!ALOHA and best wishes..

  4. Carol says on  08/18/2012 at 2:39 pm

    Great Job!! this story puts my faith back in humans. These rescuers are heroes!

  5. Anonymous says on  08/18/2012 at 2:40 pm

    You are so beautiful. Missy is so fortunate that she found people who really love her. May she live a long, happy life with someone who loves her.

  6. Anonymous says on  08/18/2012 at 7:33 pm

    In all fairness to the dog owner perhaps he didn’t have the resources or never thought that a team of 8 people would go up and rescue the dog. He had to make a tough decision in leaving her there and in doing so may not have been able to imagine a way to rescue her so dealt with it by accepting her death-not an easy thing and not without grief-which people cope with in many different ways. Wanting her back is a normal response in that case. He should have alerted someone but even then -authorities would probably not have retrieved her so I am trying to empathize with how it may have been for him. These were volunteers organized by themselves online by someone with resources( resources come in many different forms from online experience to gather people, greater coping skills, a supportive partner, money-the list goes on. I don’t know the mans story but my impression is he was relieved someone saved her, wanted her back and had to make a hard choice so I can’t judge his intentions nor should anyone else. If the dog was given the choice it would probably choose the man and I don’t think it was an act of deliberate cruelty given the circumstances. Any way I too am glad she is safe and someone is caring for her- i wish all dogs could be rescued from their death in shelters and the like as well. I think a heroic rescue would be to do so without the emotional attachment of keeping the dog yourself but to return her to her owner . It’s a very sad story really for the dog and the owner as well. There are so many deliberate acts of cruelty towards animals that never get charged but I do not believe this is one of them.

    • Anonymous says on  08/19/2012 at 9:44 am

      But why did he take his dog way up there in the first place? That in itself makes me question how responsible he is…then to leave his dog there without telling anyone????

    • teresaf says on  08/19/2012 at 8:09 pm

      Ortolani claims to be an experienced hiker. He was TOTALLY unprepared for that kind of climb. Any experienced hiker who knows that area as he claims he does knows it is NOT dog friendly. The issue is NOT that he left the dog behind on August 5th. The issue is that other than making a few phone calls, he gave uafter a day or two. He claims he was doing an internet search about her during the 8 days before she was found, but he never put up posters or checked the online hiking message boards & forums. Go to 14ers.com & read the thread. His story changes several times as to why he did what he did. The dog needs to be adopted by one of the rescuers. Ortolani had 8 days to try to do something, he CHOSE to believe Missy was dead by the second or third day. The Washburns got a rescue organized in less than 48 hours after they found on her on August 11th & brought the dog down the mountain.

  7. Anonymous says on  08/18/2012 at 7:56 pm

    whata lovely story the owner deserves to be prosecuted he should never of left him i would never have left one of mine shows he has no concience thankyou to all the kind people that rescued him xxxxx

  8. Anonymous says on  08/18/2012 at 10:40 pm

    Thank you to all of you who made the difference in the life of this dog! I am so happy that this dog will now have the opportunity to have a better life with a loving person! Bless you all!!!!

  9. Wendy says on  08/19/2012 at 2:40 am

    I really hope that Missy does get to be adopted by her rescuers. I can tell they love her. I am not convinced that someone who would put his dog in such a predicament in the first place has the emothional where-withall or the brains to care for such a beautiful dog. Did he not notice the terrain?? Does he think that dogs feet are impervious to sharp rocks, hot pavement…..??? Couldn’t he have gone back as soon as he hit the bottom and got his climbimg partner safely situated??? Total strangers figured it out, they obviously care about Missy and, thus, in her best interest, should be her human parents. I’m glad she was found and glad such nice people are involved. I’ll prey for a happy and just (for Missy) outcome.

  10. Anonymous says on  08/19/2012 at 9:23 am

    You people are ignorant. It’s a fucking dog and you want the man to prosecuted. You all need help

  11. I cannot even imagine what it would take to force me to leave my furry family members behind to face a slow painful death alone on top of a 14er- I’d have to be unconscious and my heart removed. I am celebrating my fellow Coloradoans who made the effort and saved Missy’s life!! Such compassion and teamwork!

  12. Dan Schink says on  08/20/2012 at 10:28 am

    My German Shepherd “Buddy” means more too me than family. We rescued him all most a year ago and I have never been so attached to a “dog” (he’s no dog, he’s family) in my life. I don’t know what life is like with out him, it seems like he’s all ways been with us. Heck Buddy is a whole lot smarter than a number of humans that I know. Hell only knows why that idiot took the dog on that mt. with out the very least foot protection. My heart goes out to Missy and I thank the people whom went that extra mile to help her.

  13. Anonymous says on  08/20/2012 at 4:38 pm

    One of the rescuers posted these pictures on Facebook.

    Click on “THE RESCUE” album.

  14. WisePati says on  08/21/2012 at 11:31 am

    Why would Ortalani EVER think it was OK to take the dog with him on that climb in the first place? That in itself is proof that he is not responsible to own a dog and I would question his ability to care for a child as well if he has so little common sense. Hadn’t he heart of dog boots? Wasn’t HE wearing shoes? The ignorance and selfishness he showed is horrific.
    And after he abandoned the dog he did pretty much nothing to try and save her. How would he feel if someone treated him the same way?
    May he be prosecuted and subject to the maximum penalty. And may Missy find a new forever home and a new name. Bless those that saved her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.