The man who left his injured dog atop a Colorado mountain, now facing animal cruelty charges, wants his dog back.
But one of the dog’s rescuers want to keep it.
The dog is safe and recovering now, but another doggie custody battle looks to be in the offing, pitting a dog’s original owner against someone who helped save it.
Anthony Ortalani was charged with animal cruelty Friday following an investigation by the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office, KUSA reported.
“We base that on information we learned that the dog had been up there for eight days in this rugged terrain. The weather had been inclement on certain days with rain and snow and the fact that he made little attempt to go back up and get the dog or try to make any other arraignments to retrieve the dog and get it back,” Sgt. Rick Safe with the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department said.
The dog, named Missy, has not been returned to Ortalani, who faces a court appearance Oct. 16.
“The dog is doing great now and is expected to make a full recovery,” Sgt. Safe said.
But apparently that’s no thanks to the sheriff’s department.
The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Department is the same agency that Ortalini contacted for help once getting down the mountain. He says they declined to attempt a rescue of his German shepherd
According to Ortalani he was climbing Mt. Bierstadt when his dog’s paws became blistered and too sore for her to continue walking. Ortalani says he tried to carry the 112-pound dog off the mountain but was unable to. He says that attempts by him and his friends to lower the dog with ropes ended up injuring the dog even more.
With a storm approaching, he says, he was forced to leave Missy behind.
Once down the mountain, Ortalani contacted a search-and-rescue group and the Clear Creek sheriff’s department but says he was told it was too risky to send a rescue crew up for the dog.
A group of volunteers managed to pull it off, though.
Scott Washburn was out hiking with his wife when he spotted the dog, 13,000 feet up Mount Bierstadt. He posted photos of the dog on a climbing website, 14ers.com. A group of volunteers was assembled, and they climbed back up and brought Missy down. The hikers took turns carrying her in a backpack down the mountain. Missy, who spent eight days on the mountain without food or water, was taken to a veterinarian who treated her for injuries to her paws and dehydration.
While Ortalani wants her back. Washburn and his wife have asked to adopt the dog.
Ortalani posted his thanks for those who rescued his dog on 14ers.com: “I am at a complete loss of words. My gratitude for the people involved in this is without measure.”
He went on to say, “I humbly beg the forgiveness of the community and most of all my Missy Girl. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animal cruelty, animals, Anthony Ortalani, charged, clear creek county, climbing, colorado, dog, dogs, german shepherd, hiker, injured. Mt. Bierstadt, left behind, missy, mount bierstadt, mountain, pets, rescue, safety, sheriff's department, volunteers
Breeds: Too many to mention.
Encountered: At Dog Mountain, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
Backstory: Despite the death this year of its founder, Dog Mountain held its annual Dog Fest over the weekend — this time making it a celebration of not just dogs, but also of the life and art of Stephen Huneck.
Hundreds showed up for the event.
“We know he would have wanted everyone to have a great time,” said Gwen Huneck, widow of the artist who commited suicide earlier this year. “That is, after all, why the artist created Dog Mountain and the Dog Chapel. Stephen wanted families with their dogs to have fun and enjoy nature in a place where they can bond with their furry family members as well as other dog lovers.”
We brought you the story of artist Stephen Huneck and Dog Mountain in a post earlier today. But these photos from Sunday’s festival may best explain what it’s all about. In a word, dogs.
“Stephen believed having dogs in our lives encourages us to love, laugh and play more often, all qualities that are good for the soul,” she added.
“He also believed being around dogs makes it easier for people to interact with each other and make new friends.”
Roadside Encounters is a regular feature of “Travels With Ace” — the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing the country.
To see all our roadside encounters click here.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, art, artist, celebration, chapel, dog, dog mountain, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, festival, gallery, gwen huneck, memorial, mountain, pets, road trip, st. johnsbury, stephen huneck, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, vermont