Anthony Ortolani wants dog he left on a mountain to go to one of her rescuers
Take the this conversation on the Life With Dogs Facebook page, which has gathered nearly 400 comments at this writing. Examples:
That useless piece of humanity had the gall to ask for her back after he abandoned her and she was rescued over a week later??? I think I'd abandon him with no shoes, no food, no water (leave him some snow? yellow maybe?)
Thank God the rescue team. I know Missy will now get the love and loyalty she deserves.
Exactly what should happen to this person -- he simply thought the poor dog would die/no one would find the dog and he would be home free. I hope they throw the book at him.
As posts like these accumulated, a Change.org petition was launched under the title "Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office: Please do not allow Anthony Ortolani to reclaim Missy, German Shepherd." Here's the intro, which features a link to a story about Missy featured on Good Morning America.
The photo of Missy and the rescue team that accompanies the Change.org petition.
Please read the attached article. Missy was left by her owner due to a storm in very tough terrain without food, water or shelter. She was injured and could not walk to safety. He made no attempt to organize any rescue group and made no attempt to go back for her to save her. A couple hiking in the area found her and worked very hard to save her. They did everything they could to save Missy, a dog they did not know. She was very close to death when they found her. She is recovering now but Mr. Ortolani wants his dog back. The couple who saved her, along with others, have expressed interest in adopting her. I am not suggesting that Mr. Ortolani is a bad person but simply that he did not step up to the plate when his dog needed him. Please sign this petition so Missy can go to her new home with the couple who loved her enough to save her.As of now, the petition, which sported 128 signatures at the time of our original post, has 1,290 names on it.
In the face of such sweeping opposition, Ortolani backed down. At a Sunday press conference arranged by representatives of Wheat Ridge's Animal Law Center -- the firm featured in this space last week in regard to Dre, a Brighton pit bull recently returned to his family after an international uproar (and reports of past biting) -- he again tried to cast his actions in a better light. "My physical condition was significantly deteriorated," he told CBS4. "My emotional condition was no good. I thought she was dead."
Now that Missy is on the road to recovery, however, he's been negotiating a plea deal with Clear Creek County that could be wrapped up as early as this week. Meanwhile, he told the station, "I would much rather see her with one of the rescuers who were very affectionate to her obviously then sitting in a kennel somewhere in Clear Creek County."
Here's the CBS4 report about Ortolani's comments.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Corey Haveman skips sentencing after guilty plea for starving Irish Setter to death."