http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nat...-dog-subject-custody-battle-article-1.1138690 Man charged with animal cruelty for abandoning German Shepherd on mountain: Colorado couple rallies fellow climbers to save the dog A Denver couple is engaged in a custody battle over an injured and hungry German Shepherd dog, Missy, they found abandoned atop a local climing spot. After having organzined a rescue effort with fellow climbers, now they hear that Missy’s original owner wants back the dog he left for dead. A group of Colorado mountain climbers rescued a German Shepard named Missy from 13,000 feet, where the dog's owner abandoned her. Missy was stranded for eight days before two hikers found her close to death and bloodied. In a strange twist of fate, the owner wants custody of Missy again - a privilege the animal-loving hikers think the man lost when he left the canine to die. Authorities agree with the hikers and have charged the dog’s owner, Anthony Ortolani, with animal cruelty. He is scheduled to appear in court on October 16. Scott and Amanda Washburn found Missy marooned on a pile of bloody rocks of the Sawtooth Ridge between Mount Bierstadt and and Mount Evans in Colorado on Aug. 11. The Denver couple bandaged Missy's wounds and gave her food and water. They tried to help Missy down the mountain but her injured paws prevented her from walking. At more than 100 pounds, she was also too big to carry. Official search and rescue teams couldn't assist the couple since they only respond to calls to help humans. But the Washburns didn't give up. The Washburns posted a picture of Missy on 14ers.com, a social networking site for mountain climbers, requesting help saving Missy. The appeal garnered an overwhelming number of responses from people eager to support. Others posts voiced outrage that someone could forsake his pet in such dire circumstances. Soon after, eight volunteers set off up Mount Bierstadt to rescue the stranded dog. As ominous clouds gathered overhead, the team found Missy. The clouds erupted into a bizzard. They carried Missy down the mountain in a large backpack, persevering through the inclement weather, according to Animal Help Now. The rescue mission lasted nine hours total. After examining Missy, a veterinarian assured the group that their new dog wouldn't have permanent injuries from the ordeal. The dog is in surprising good shape considered what she experienced, according to ABC News. That's when Missy's owner, Ortolani, identified himself. He explained that he left her behind on Aug. 5 before a storm. Ortolani said he was concerned for the safety of a younger hiker he brought on the outing, reports the Daily Mail. Missy finally made her way down Mount Bierstadt in a backpack, among other conveyances. "I am ashamed that it wasn't me who got her off of the mountain, I underestimated the good will and resolve of the hiking community of Colorado, and I am eternally grateful," Ortolani wrote on a 14ers.com message board. The Washburns, however, don't think Ortolani is fit to care for Missy and hope to adopt her themselves. "We understand that he had to leave her there," Scott Washburn said. "My wife and I did the same thing. But we ended up going back for her, and we went to some pretty extreme lengths to do so. In my opinion, that is not a responsible dog owner, who doesn't really care about her."