DENVER (CBS4) – A man who admitted he abandoned his dog on top of Mt. Bierstadt has avoided jail time and a large fine.
Anthony Ortolani on Tuesday was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and 30 hours of community service. It’s part of a plea agreement, avoiding the possible 18 months in jail and $5,000 fine he could have received for animal cruelty.
In August Ortolani was climbing Mt. Bierstadt with his 5-year-old German shepherd, Missy. She suffered injuries on her paws during the hike. Ortolani said she got too heavy to carry down, so he left her behind with a plan to call Search and Rescue, but he said they told him it was too risky.
“Everybody says, ‘Why didn’t you go back?’ My condition was significantly deteriorated, my emotional condition was no good, I thought she was dead,” Ortolani said.
Missy survived after eight days alone on the mountain thanks to the efforts of volunteers and a coordinated rescue effort.
Ortolani was then charged with animal cruelty. He pleaded guilty in October and agreed Missy should go home with one of her rescuers.
“We’re pleased that the case is over. We think that the consequences greatly outweighed his conduct, if you will,” said Jay Swearingen, Ortolani’s attorney.
Ortolani and Swearingen believe more blame should be given to the sheriff’s department that told Ortolani nothing could be done. But more so, they are pleased Missy is alive and happy in her new home.