A Colorado Hiker, Anthony Ortolani, 29, was ordered to perform 30 hours of community service and given one year of unsupervised probation as part of a plea deal concerning a misdemeanor first-degree animal cruelty charge. Initially, he had been facing 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Ortolani, of Westminster, was charged after he’d left his injured German Shepherd mix named Missy behind on a Colorado mountain. He and a climbing companion had been hiking Mount Bierstadt in August when looming torrential weather threatened their safety. Ortolani attempted to carry out the five-year-old, 112-pound animal when she was unable to walk. Missy had suffered injuries to her paws. Eventually, Ortolani and his companion abandoned Missy. The dog remained there for eight days, severely dehydrated and injured, until a group of hikers discovered and rescued her.
A veterinarian volunteered to take her in and found that the dog had no fractures, no internal injuries, or other permanent damage from the ordeal.
Ortolani argued his decision to leave the dog behind and not going back to retrieve her:
“My condition was significantly deteriorated; my emotional condition was no good. I thought she was dead.”
He also claims that authorities weren’t helpful at the time. Ortolani contacted 911 and was lead to believe by the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s office that nothing could be done for his dog, according to the Daily Mail.
Ortolani had to give up ownership of the dog after being hit with charges of animal cruelty and death threats. Missy, now renamed Lucky by her new owners, has since been adopted by another family. The group of hikers who rescued her insisted on custody of the dog.