Anthony Ortolani, owner of dog left on 14er explains his actions

8:33 PM, Sep 16, 2012   |    comments
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Anthony Ortolani is charged with animal abuse after the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office says he left his dog Missy to die on Mt. Bierstadt.

Ortolani's lawyer said he has agreed to plea to a minor Clear Creek County ordinance violation, and he would give up custody of Missy to one of the volunteer rescuers.

Ortolani said in a press conference, Sunday afternoon, he has always wanted what's best for Missy and is being vilified for what he did.

Ortolani says he's received nasty messages from all over the world, including death threats since he made the decision to leave Missy, the 112 pound German Shepherd-Rottweiler mix, on the mountain.

According to Ortolani, the climb in early August would have been Missy's sixth successful summit of a fourteener in Colorado and she's never had any other problems.

Ortolani says he and his hiking partner tried to carry Missy down the mountain for several hours after her paws started to bleed. He says as they began to get more tired, and Missy fought against them. He says a storm was rolling in and they still had several more hours of hiking to get out. Ortolani said that's when they made the decision to leave her.

Ortolani says when he made it back, he called the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office to try and get Missy rescued, but says he was told the region was too dangerous for an animal rescue.

He says after the ordeal he was emotionally and physically drained. He thought Missy was dead and didn't know who else to call to try and get her rescued.

During the press conference, Ortolani said he was always open to giving up Missy, and says others, not him, have made it out to be a battle for him to keep Missy.

"It was something that I was always willing to do had it been asked of me," Ortolani said. "But there was no dialog between me and the rescuers. I tried to contact them but received no answer except for angry, angry stuff."

Ortolani says those angry responses were not necessarily from the rescuers, but from those "sympathetic to their cause."

9NEWS has attempted to get in contact with any of the rescuers, but so far has not received a response.

All of the volunteers that rescued Missy are scheduled to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday.

Look for more on this story tonight on 9NEWS at 9 and 10pm.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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