Anthony Ortolani left his 5-year-old German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix, Missy, behind at 13,000 feet when he was hiking between Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans in Colorado. Missy survived for 8 days before being rescued by a group of volunteer rescuers. When she was found she was severely dehydrated and in bad shape.
Ortolani was hiking with his friend’s 19-year-old son when bad weather started to move in. Missy’s feet had become blistered and she was unable to walk. The two men tried carrying Missy for over two hours. With both men becoming fatigued and Missy fighting being carried, the two men made the decision to leave her. Ortolani called Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office when he made it down the mountain, but was told it was too dangerous for an animal rescue. Ortolani says that the climb had been Missy’s sixth successful summit and she’d never had problems previously.
Thanks to Scott Washburn and his wife, who first spotted Missy stranded on the mountain, Missy was successfully rescued 8 days later. Scott and his wife organized a group of experienced hikers to bring Missy down to safety.
Since the story broke of Missy’s rescue by this group of volunteer hikers, Ortolani has received death threats and nasty messages. Ortolani was charged with animal cruelty and will plead guilty to a less-serious violation of a Clear Creek County ordinance.
Ortalani has agreed to give Missy to one of the rescuers. Since her rescue Missy has been in a kennel as the case against Ortolani has been ongoing. He has not been able to see her. Ortaloni doesn’t want her to sit in a kennel and said, “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.”