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Strangers Rescue Dog; Owner Charged With Animal Cruelty

Hikers took turns bringing the injured dog down from Mt. Bierstadt. (credit: CBS)

Hikers took turns bringing the injured dog down from Mt. Bierstadt. (credit: CBS)

The owner of a dog left injured and stranded high on Mt. Bierstadt is now charged with a crime. The animal survived for several days and was eventually rescued by a group of strangers.

The German shepherd survived eight days on the mountain at about 13,000 feet. The dog survived, but was described as being severely dehydrated and having trouble breathing.

Scott Washburn found the German Shephard while hiking with his wife between Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans.

“I tried to put her over my shoulders. We tried to grab her and move her but the dog was just 100 pounds and there was no way we were getting her out,” he said.

When the finished their climb, they put a photo of the stranded dog online and asked for help. A complete stranger, Brandon Vail, led a search party that same night.

Four experienced climbers started hiking Mt. Bierstadt at 11:30 p.m. Saturday. They failed to find the dog in a first attempt, and Washburn led a second Monday morning. That group found the dog and named it “Lucky.”

The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s office investigated the case and found the dog’s owner was Anthony Joseph Ortolani. He is charged with cruelty to animals and due to appear in court on October 16.

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