GEORGETOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – The man who left his injured dog up one of Colorado’s fourteeners in August pleaded guilty to a charge of animal cruelty on Tuesday.
Anthony Ortolani, of Westminster, could spend as much as 18 months in jail and faces a fine of as much as $5,000.
He told CBS4 last month he takes full responsibility for taking the dog, Missy, with him on a hike that proved to be too difficult for her.
Ortolani said the paws of the dog, a 5-year-old German shepherd/Rottweiler mix, started to bleed while in the saddle area betweent Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans in August. 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.
With bad weather moving in and no water, Ortolani made the decision to leave her there. He says he thought search and rescue would go back for her but was told the rescue was too risky to retrieve an animal.
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 faces a sentencing hearing on Nov. 20.
After spending several weeks in a kennel in Clear Creek County custody of Missy was handed over to one of the people who rescued her. After initially wanting Missy back Ortolani said he changed his mind agreed to let the dog go to the rescuer.
Ortolani told CBS4 he received death threats after the incident.