A Westminster man who left his 5-year-old dog on a Colorado mountain was sentenced to a year of unsupervised probation and 30 hours of community service today, Denver television stations reported.
Anthony Ortolani pleaded guilty to a charge of animal cruelty in October. He admitted leaving his dog on Mount Bierstadt in August after first trying to carry the injured dog down in bad weather. Missy was eventually rescued after eight days on the mountain.
In September, Ortolani told Examiner.com that he and a companion carried the 112-pound dog down for two-and-a-half hours in late July before giving up. The dog could not walk because of blistered feet.
Ortolani said he and the other man continued on without her, as bad weather approached, through chest-high brush and knee-high water, losing toenails and winding up with "torn-up feet." He said he never intended to abandon the dog.
He said he alerted the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office via cell phone and a friend in Denver but was told it was too risky for rescuers to go back up. He said he didn't get any direction about what to do and concluded the 5-year-old dog was irretrievable. Clear Creek County is west of Denver.
Ortolani also said he was concerned about taking care of his hiking partner, the 19-year-old son of a friend.
A group of volunteers eventually rescued the dog, who was spotted wandering at an elevation of about 13,000 feet. Missy was in bad shape when reached more than a week after being left, but recovered.
Ortolani has been widely criticized by people who believe he left his dog to die. A petition drive was launched on Facebook to deny his getting Missy back. He decided to give the dog to one of the rescuers.
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