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Dog abandoned on Colorado mountain; owner faces animal cruelty charge

Rescuers carry Missy the German Shepherd down a mountain in Colorado, after the dog was abandoned there by his owner. (Scott Washburn)

August 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The owner of a German Shepherd found abandoned and dying on a Colorado mountain is now facing a cruelty to animals charge.

A pair of hikers found the dog tucked into a tiny nook between some rocks. But after eight days on the mountain, Missy was too weak to move and too heavy for the couple to carry down the mountain.

So the couple posted a plea for hikers on a Facebook forum. Soon, they had a team of eight volunteers who headed back up through a snowstorm, found the dog and rescued her. They carried Missy down the mountain inside a hiker's oversized backpack.

Missy's owner, 29-year-old Anthony Joseph Ortolani, told media that he was forced to leave Missy behind Aug. 5 when a storm moved in and he became worried for the safety of a younger hiker who was with him. He said Missy's feet were cut from walking on sharp rocks and she could no longer walk.

After the rescue, the volunteers handed Missy over to a local vet, who said she was severely dehydrated but sustained no permanent damage. The couple who found Missy as well as members from the rescue team would like to adopt Missy, but Ortolani is asking for his dog back.

Clear Creek County Sheriff's Sgt. Rick Safe said "the dog was basically abandoned up there."

"He [Ortolani] made no initial attempt. After three days, he thought the dog was deceased so he made no attempts to reclaim the dog," Page said.

ABC News contributed to this report.

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