Home Page

Colorado Hiker Abandoned Injured Dog to Die


Anthony Ortolani, 29, was climbing with a friend on Mount Bierstadt with his 5-year-old German Shepherd / Rottweiler mix back on August 5th when a storm rolled in. On the climb Ortolani’s dog Missy had cut up her paws on sharp rocks and was unable to continue to walk. Ortolani said that he and his 19-year-old friend tried to carry the 112-pound dog for more than two hours on the treacherous terrain before making the difficult decision to abandon the dog in order to save themselves.

August 11, Scott and Amanda Washburn were hiking in the area and spotted missy tucked into a crack in some rocks half dead. The couple treaded the 112-pound dog with what first aid they had before heading down the mountain to find help.

That night the Washburn’s started a Facebook page to spread the word of the injured dog abandoned on the mountain. A few days later they had managed to wrangle a group of volunteers to head back up the mountain to retrieve Missy. In just over nine hours the group was able to bring Missy off the mountain in an oversized backpack.

After the rescue mission Ortolani said that he wanted custody of his German Shephard / Rottweiler mix. But after receiving intense criticism and even death threats over his decision to leave his dog on the mountain he has changed his mind. Ortolani has since been charged with animal cruelty by the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office.

  • Pingback: Hiker Who Abandoned Injured Dog to Die Sentenced In Colorado Court - Unofficialnetworks.com

  • freebeerisgood

    I can’t imagine ever being in a situation, in the summer of all the times of the year, where I was not prepared to stay the night, particularly for my dog. I understand its a 14er and I am not sure what altitude they were at, but if you are not prepared for a storm, you are wrong. I’ve never been in the situation, but I would just as soon die with him, rather than leave my dog in the backcountry.

  • Pingback: Hikes and Folks worth Looking In To « bethanyhughes

  • Meg

    This is sad, just because 1. my 3 legged dog climbed Beirstadt – though the weather was impecable. 2. go back and get your dog… I mean, come ON MAN! just go back… even if your scared of what you’d see. 3. cruelty charges appropriate… death threats not. public humiliation – a bonus.

  • Pingback: UPDATE: Missy The Dog Has A New Owner - Ski Blog

  • WOW

    The part of this story that is missing is that they called the local Sherrif’s office/Search and Rescue to let them know about what happened, but weren’t offered any assistance in rescuing the dog (via Denver Post).

    • Chris

      Yes but then he failed to do ANYTHING else after calling them. It wasn’t until strangers posted on 14ers.com and a group was organized to rescue the dog themselves. I heard he has animal cruelty charges filed against him.

  • TBAG

    He left the dog on Aug 5th and they found the dog on Aug 11th? The he could have gone back to at least “bury” his dog and would have found her alive! Very low on the moral meter. I had to pack my buddies black lab out of Desolation Wilderness years ago after he smoked his paws climbing Pyramid Peak. It sucked and hurt, but never did we think about leaving the dog. No dog would ever leave their owner…

  • bob

    When a friend and I were backpacking in the snow we had to carry his black lab for about 5 hours after an injury, on top of all our camping stuff. Hard work when the snow was past your knees. You just take turns and mtfu.

  • Mike Thompson

    I followed this on a couple sites in close to real time.

    Its seems that his biggest crime was not knowing about 14ers.com?
    Where resources were willing and able to help?

    I might be a bit more pissed at the Sheriffs department?
    How can he be charged with a crime?

    At least the story seems to haved ended well for Missy (The Dog)

    I would not have made the descisions he made. But aqt some level I understand it.

    As for as who keeps the dog, FINDERS KEEPERS.

    I hope to see more information as this story comes to closure for everyone?

  • serious

    YOU can’t judge this situation unless you were in it.
    he loved his dog, but he had to make the smarter decision.
    this is not animal cruelty

  • Thatoneguy

    I have helped carry a 100 pound lab 3 miles after it scrapped his pads off. It took 4 people a few hours using a towel as a litter. It was not my dog, I did/ do not know the owner. I would have carried that dog, or any dog, by myself, for any distance needed, until the next f*cking day if needed. F*ck those people, Not even coming back and leaving there poor dog to suffer.
    On a side note, helping the strangers lab was a big wake up call on how hard it must/can/will be get a adult human out from any sh1t situation in the back country.

  • skieo

    Abandoning their loving friend for 6 or 7 days – without raising help – is pathetic cowardly and disgraceful. I hope those people don’t breed because the gene pool is shallow enough.

  • YaddidaShred

    Screw that guy in every sense. What’s animal cruelty in Clear Creek? A night in county and a fat fine? BFD! Hope someone knocks his ass out.

  • spencer Green

    They should have recognized that the dog wasn’t going to be able to make the hike and that they wouldn’t be able to make it to their destination. They were in no immediate danger and should have turned around and headed to lower elevation. While down-hiking may be more difficult, they would have had more energy at that point. They were being selfish egotistic f*#ks by trying to reach a point that is going nowhere. If it would have only worked out where they got to elevation and the storm hit so hard they needed help…

  • jo

    ^agreed. wtf is wrong with this person to leave the dog to die. at least go get help immediately and come back. he deserves the charges,

  • Colorado locals

    Mt. Bierstadt is a easy mountain to climb it is a quick 7 miles to the top (unless they were doing sawtooth which you shouldn’t take a dog on anyway). The thing I see wrong here is that bierstadt is packed with people through august, there are easily hundreds of people on that trail in a day. This kid should have gotten help and gotten the dog within the day no problem.

    This is just some stupid kid that brought his dog on one of the easiest fourteeners in colorado and almost let it die. Thats final

  • Andrew Somerville

    Whoa whoa whoa, Miss Lippy. The part of the story I don’t like is that the little boy gave up looking for Happy after an hour. He didn’t put posters up or anything, he just sat on the porch like a goon and waited. That little boy’s gotta think ‘You got a pet. You got a responsibility.’ If your dog is lost you don’t look for an hour then call it quits. You get your ass out there and you find that fucking dog….seriously though what a turd ferguson.

  • Penis Butt McGilroy

    Colorado is full of idiots. This dumbshit is a prime example. Colorado happens to also be home to very helpful and capable people, some of which would have obviously lent a hand much sooner if they had known. Perhaps his biggest fault was not reaching out.

  • Treas Manning

    If his dog’s paws were so torn up he couldn’t walk, he was selfishly forcing the pace and distance, not paying attention to the dogs well being. I have hiked, skied and ran with my dog, I was always aware of trail conditions and how he was doing. I never took him with me when I mtn biked, the pace is too hard and too long for a dog. My Squaw Valley dog, Kaweah had a good healthy life as a mountain dog until the very end. If this guy is an experienced mountain man he should know that your pace is only that of the weakest/slowest person/dog in your group. SHAME ON YOU, ASS!

  • brenden

    the dog is safe now. why charge a man for something so sad in the first place? if he called for help and rescuers said no, then no charges should be filed. there are far worse cases of animal cruelty out there.

    • steve

      why? because the stupid pos was irresponsible bringing a dog into a treacherous environment that it was not prepared for in the first place. If the dogs paws were beginning to cut they should have turned back immediately . Yes it’s sad but that’s not an excuse, totally irresponsible , what a pos

    • wheepickle

      just so you know, any government official/rescuer will tell you that conditions are hazardous to even ski a volcano in the pacific northwest. just because there’s snow. certainly they won’t send a helicopter or crews out for a dog. that does not mean it’s unsafe in reality.

  • Local Mounter

    If you have any doubt that you will not get your dog off the mountain in the chance they will get injured, you are doing it wrong. Animals are not for your own amusement. ESPECIALLY when the dog is injured. stupid people.

    • brenden

      good point… i see a lot of people bringing their dogs out in the snow.. sometimes i wonder how they do so well in those cold enviroments! but i dont have a big dog, mine stay at home.

      • wheepickle

        I do bring my dog out skiing a lot. and biking. but I always carry emergency supplies for his paws specifically and we are always prepared to carry him out, slow to his pace or retreat if his condition requires it. he’s part of the family after all… I could not rest for a second if I knew my dog was left behind!

  • hairfarmr

    May that piece of human excrement die a slow painful agonizing death, abandoned in the wilderness by his Mother, stuffed in a crack on a high cold mountain trail w/no food water or clothing on his selfish shit stained skin.

  • gnarcephony

    he probably didnt deserve death threats but screw that guy. As far as 14ers in CO go, Bierstadt is not that difficult compared to many of the others. He could have done a lot more than carry the dog with his buddy for a few hours and give up for good. Come back the next day with friends? Man up and keep tromping? If random people saw the dog and were able to orchestrate a rescue mission, the owner could have easily pulled off the same in the 6 days prior. Just one of many dog owners that shouldn’t be.

  • helpnxt

    That’s terrible that they abandoned the dog but if it could mean two people die you have to, same kind of feeling on human life. But if they got down safely why didn’t they try and get more help and rescue the dog like the other pair did?

    • Colin

      ^^^ That’s the real question.

      Death threats are obviously over the line, but to paraphrase Bill Clinton it takes some brass to abandon your dog, not attempt to go back and get her, and then try to reclaim custody. Animal cruelty charges are appropriate.

    • Anonymous

      Whats so great about these 2 humans lives? knowingly leaving a friend/family memeber/companion to die….. why because they are a little cold and tired. I think we need far less of these types of people in the world personally, and they deserve every bit of ill will and legal punishment and then some. They got death threats huh, well they issued a death sentence, They left that dog for dead and did nothing to aide in the rescue. fuck ’em they deserve no pity or forgiveness.

    • Bigger Sky

      leaving the dog with no plans to go back for it seems so wrong, but they at least could have killed it instead of leaving it to die.

Add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s