WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – The man who left his injured dog up one of Colorado’s fourteeners this summer says one of the rescuers should be allowed to adopt her.
Anthony Ortolani, of Westminster, spoke out for the first time since the incident last month, saying he’s received death threats for what happened. He said he wants to make it clear he’s taking full responsibility for taking the dog with him on a hike that proved to be too difficult for her.
Ortolani said the paws of his dog, a 5-year-old German shepherd/Rottweiler mix named Missy, started to bleed while in the saddle area betweent Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans last month.
He says he tried to carry the injured 112 pound dog for two hours, but it proved too difficult. His feet were injured as well.
“Carrying her down, unfortunately caused her more injury. She fought with me and squirmed off my shoulders, and I dropped her on some rocks and she got hurt worse,” he said.
With bad weather moving in and no water, Ortolani made the decision to leave her there.
“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.
He says he thought search and rescue would go back for her but was told the rescue was too risky to retrieve an animal.
“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 said.
Another hiker spotted the injured dog six days later and volunteers coordinated a rescue effort through a climbing website, rescuing Missy after eight days on the mountain.
Ortolani says it’s best for Missy to be out of the shelter where she’s being held while his case goes through the courts.
“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.
Ortalani says he’s paid close to $5,000 in vet and boarding bills. His lawyer says a tenative plea deal has been reached with the district attorney in Clear Creek County on the cruelty to animals charge he faces.
One of the rescuers is interested in adopting Missy.
Custody won’t be decided until the court case is resolved.
“I’ve always wanted nothing but the best for her, and that’s why I take her everywhere with me,” Ortolani said.
Ortalani could enter a plea this week in the case.