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Sound like the owner of Missy did not plan his trip well. If the terrain was too rough, leave the dog home with a kong, younger hiker?... leave the dog home... storm? again leave the dog home. No effort was made by this person to go get his dog. He left it there in a storm to die, and told authorities he thought it was dead. A man, in his prime, should be able to muscle a dog to saftey. I have no doubt I would never leave my dog's side. He would not leave mine and I would bestow that same gift on him. Poor dog, wish she could take that man to the mountain, remove his shoes and supplies and leave him there for someone else to recue.

:angry:

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I didn't watch what was posted here, but at the end of the video I saw was a comment that the man alerted authorities, who told him it was too risky to go get the dog. That said, I suspect that was the day of, or shortly thereafter. If the only thing wrong with the dog was injured paws, I don't know why the owner would have assumed it had died. Dogs aren't as vulnerable to exposure as humans are and they have an amazing capacity for survival. The fact that he didn't try to go back later and get her himself or make sure she was indeed dead, or enlist friends, etc., to help him means to me that he no longer has any right to ownership of that dog.

 

I understand it might not be so cut and dried. In this case, if I were the rescuer, I'd take my chances moving the dog out of state and suffering the consequences (contempt of court?) to make a point that what this idiot did is completely unacceptable!

 

J.

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Julie that's my thought as well. While I wasn't there when he left her, and am therefore willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he had no choice (though what idiot takes a young inexperienced hiker and a dog on that type of trip?), the fact that he said "ah well too bad she's dead I guess" and never even attempted to go get her completely removes any and all claim of ownership in my mind. I hope that the law sees it that way as well.

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And Fargo, ya that was my first thought too, let's abandon his butt up there for a few days and tell him we'll just assume he didn't survive. He might wish someone was looking for him after the first night.

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I just read on FB that the owner has been charged with animal cruelty? Probably won't stick, but I sure don't think he deserves his dog back. There is no excuse for not going back for her as soon as he could. You know, kinda like some total strangers did... :angry:

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He should not get the dog back...no way, no how! In a similar fashion, this happened near where I live.

A person, (I hesitate to call him a 'man'!) took his 3 Rottweilers into the bush, tied them to trees and left them....no food, no water and in a bush with plenty of large predators (wolves, coyotes, black bears). The dogs were found, taken to the animal shelter and after 3 days were adopted out. The person who left them there, came forward and wanted them BACK!!!!!!!!!!! :blink:

If I recall correctly, he was charged with animal cruelty and under our provincial laws, the dogs were not given back because he abandoned them....

Makes you wonder sometimes, doesn't it??

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No way he should get that dog back. The plain fact is, even if the weather was glorious and his inexperienced hiking partner was fine, her paws were cut up and she could no longer walk. He would have ended up abandoning her, no matter the case.

 

I get that hauling a 100+ pound dog out is tough. The people who DID get her out were unable to do it themselves and had to go to extraordinary lengths to find a way to do it.

 

But if it were my dog, I don't care if I had to go find 3 other guys and a big blue tarp to make a stretcher to haul her down, I'd have gotten her off that mountain. They don't abandon wounded human hikers. It's unconscionable that he abandoned a canine one without even an attempt to go back and save her. Especially when he put her in that position.

 

It would be a cold day in hell before I left one of my dogs ANYwhere. This sorry excuse for a man didn't even try.

 

Strike, you're OUT, buddy.

 

~Gloria

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I know I can't project my own values onto the original owner, but that doesn't stop me from saying what I think he should do. I think he should recognize and appreciate the extent to which the rescuers cared about this dog, and in response he should bow out gracefully and be glad there is someone who cared that much. He should let the dog go and be glad that, because of their efforts, he will not have to live with knowing the dog was abandoned to a likely slow death.

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Here's the forum thread where the rescue was initiated, if you're interested:

 

http://14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=36893

 

edit: it's a very long thread - 46 pages, you know how things get - and the actual rescue occurs around page 17 or 18.

 

http://14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=36893&start=204#p440131

 

edit edit: here's where the owner chimes in:

http://14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=36893&start=252#p440312

 

edit edit edit (sorry): more pictures http://14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=36893&start=372#p440514

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Wow. sluj, thank you for posting those links. I am now inclined to view this story in an entirely different light. The owner of the dog himself logged in with his side of the story and, as everything, there is always another side. From what he wrote, it sounds like he did everything he could to the limits of human endurance, and only then made the decision to leave her behind.

 

Here is his post from the 14ers.com forum:

 

Hi all,

 

I am the owner of the German Shepard girl found on Mt. Bierstadt.

 

I need to know the name of the vet clinic that Missy is at so I can go see her and re-reimburse them for helping her, and if I am fortunate enough, to bring her home.

 

 

I am at a complete loss of words. My gratitude for the people involved in this is without measure.

 

Missy was hurt during an attempt at crossing the Sawtooth. It was Missy, a friend and I. Her paws got bloodied up right in the belly of the sawtooth. I was assisting her with the climb using ropes and a harness for a while but she kept getting hurt worse. A few kind hikers stopped and offered some assistance but incoming weather pushed people off of the saddle. My friend and I realized that we could not get Missy up the saddle to Evans or Bierstadt safely so we decided to bail off of the saddle into the valley between the two mountains to escape the incoming clouds. We were lowering her for a while with ropes from boulder to boulder but she was hurting herself worse against the rocks sprawling out and catching them with her legs. Eventually she just stopped standing or moving at all and I knew she was pretty badly hurt. I picked her up on my shoulders and was hopping from boulder to boulder but I couldn't keep her on me. I dropped her once and I almost fell once too and I realized that I couldn't carry her off of the mountain. At this point I made the decision that I honestly never thought I would even be faced with. I left her there so that my friend and I could get down safely with intentions of calling S&R when we were off of the mountian. We both spent about two hours trying to move her up and down the mountain and were pretty exhausted. Neither one of us wanted to hike up the saddle with the cloud cover growing so we continued down into the valley and hiked back to Guanella Pass Rd. It was a lot farther than we thought it would be, and we got lost several times. A group of hunters showed us the way out and gave us a ride back to our car. Thank you to them as well.

 

I called the 911, the sheriffs office and search and rescue and I was told that it was to risky for them to send rescue crew up there for a dog, which was upsetting but understandable. I'll admit that while trying to get off of the the mountain I was not as concerned because I was focused on making it safely off of the mountain, but once I was safely at my car I was overwhelmed with the loss, and the decision to leave her there. The next couple of days was absolutely horrible wondering about her, if she was alive, or if she died. Thinking about her suffering was awful beyond words. Many confidants comforted me by saying that she was probably gone from injury. All I can say is that I am relieved that she is okay, I am ashamed that it was not me that started this thread, 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 to all of you and to 9news. I humbly beg the forgiveness of the community and most of all my Missy Girl. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

 

He then adds:

 

I am reading through all of these threads, and I am just in awe of how heroic and amazing everyone is that did this. I also see all of the anger and hatred towards me and the decision that I made. I feel that I deserve it all. I made it in a panic to be sure, and what I felt was a survival situation. I didn't think to post on 14er's.com to ask for everyone to come fix my colossal mistake in judgement. It is truly amazing that all of you did it on your own. I don't have proper words. It was several days before I would have even been able to even think of walking back up Bierstadt much less into the sawtooth and to try and carry Missy out, and after that I just thought it would be to late. I honestly never thought that I could just ask strangers to go check the sawtooth and carry my 112lb German Shepard out. I don't know what to say. Thank you again to the community, and to those who are angry I am so so sorry. Missy has done 6 14'ers and she loves being out there in the mountains. She depends on me to make smart choices, and taking her into the sawtooth was beyond foolish.

 

 

That to me does not sound like a heartless cad who shrugged off his dog's injury. It sounds like a man in a terrible situation - who probably never should have put his dog in that situation - who just ran out of options and luck. At worst, it now sounds like he's most guilty of bad judgement and crappy thinking, but not of deliberate cruelty. The single most damning question of all is why he didn't manage to get help back up to his dog, even if he could not get there himself.

 

Maybe I'm being too charitable for some folks, but I'm dealing with a situation here at home, where two of my friends have had a deeply divisive falling out. Hearing from one person, I thought the other had gone off the deep end. Hearing from the other ... I realize it was simply an unfortunate parting of the ways.

 

I'm at least going to take my own moral from this story: learn before I judge. I don't know the answer to this man's dilemma or what should become of his dog. I'm just glad that I am not the one who has to make that choice.

 

Thanks again for the links.

 

~ Gloria

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My final note on the matter: apparently he has no outdoorsy friends in the area - something I can imagine - that he could have called, he got no help from sheriffs, SAR or animal control, and then he was sent out of town for his job for several days. So ... perhaps an untenable situation? If he had nobody to call on, no way to get there, and nobody would go in his stead, what *could* he have done? Well, at the least he could have placed posters at the trail head.

 

I once rescued an old dog that got lost in the mountains and the owners had to drive 7 hours home and go to work. We found him, packed him out on a mule and kept him for several days, until they could get back. But they *told* us the dog was there.

 

I don't know. Glad I don't have to sit as a juror on this one. Here is the owner's later response to posts on that forum:

 

I am going to post this last thing.

 

First; off please don't chastise the people that are on here to support me. They know and love Missy too, and are thankful and anxious just like I am.

Second; I only post in response to positive posts because that is productive. That doesn't mean I havn't read every single angry post and tried desperately to pull wisdom from it.

Third; I called 911 who put me in touch with the Sherriffs office who contacted the Search and Rescue who said no to going up there. I googled Dog Found on Mt Bierstadt and Dog found on sawtooth all week as that is what I could do while out of state. When I did not see anything I honestly thought she was gone. It broke my heart, but I thought she was gone.

Fourth; I did not post about the blisters, or the pulled muscles. Drinking water out of the creek wasn't the risky thing. Being on a trail that you have no idea how long it is or where it leads with no water added to the stress and is not a good situation.

Fifth; I spoke with the hunters about getting Missy, they told me that it was still a very long hike to the TH and that they felt S&R would get her. We were wrong, that sucked.

Sixth; I am not going to get into the details of my job, but it was nessecary for me to go out of town. Believe it or don't, but it's the truth.

Seventh; The only family I have here in Colorado is my daughter who isn't old enough to drive. I have some friends, but they are not outdoors people. There are a few that I could have called, but seriously I just lost hope, and bringing others into it seemed as bad as good. If the rescuers will not put their lives in jepordy, it didn't really seem all that wise to ask my friends and family to do the same.

Eighth; I am not proud of leaving Missy. I did what I thought was right at the time to protect myself and the teenager that I was with. People say that I should have stayed there and sent my friends son to get help. I was responsible for him, and I was not leaving him there alone with clouds growing over Bierstadt, and I was not going to send him off alone with absolutely no cell service.

Ninth; I am in contact with Animal Control, and the Sheriffs Department. We are all working together to figure this out. I care a lot less about my "punishment" than I do about the lessons that I have learned, and about seeing Missy again.

Tenth; People will say that I should have gone up even after six days. I can't argue with you, and seeing now how she survived like she did I would have. I thought she was dead up there in those conditions and not seeing anything online about it. I was certain that I wouldn't even be able to find her in that giant boulder field laying in between rocks. I didn't even know what to think or do about if I did find her dead. As for posting posters on the TH I wish I did. There was a lot else going through my mind after the experience and I didn't do everything perfectly. I am sorry.

 

Finally, I want to thank everyone again. You are all heros and I am in awe of your determination and selflessness. I pray that someday I might be able to return the favor in a similar fashion. Please remember that you are all very experienced mountaineers and not everyone else is. I am learning, and I do every time I go into the mountains. I was resourceful enough to get me and the young man that was with me to safety. Thats what I was hanging onto through all of this. I am sorry if you expected more from me in the past, I can only promise to protect her with everything I am in the future.

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That to me does not sound like a heartless cad who shrugged off his dog's injury. It sounds like a man in a terrible situation - who probably never should have put his dog in that situation - who just ran out of options and luck. At worst, it now sounds like he's most guilty of bad judgement and crappy thinking, but not of deliberate cruelty. The single most damning question of all is why he didn't manage to get help back up to his dog, even if he could not get there himself.>>> Gloria

 

I just have to say I agree. I had been on the fence about posting - honestly not brave enough. People make mistakes- it does sound like he made an effort but was discouraged. I believe it was entirely possible he believed the dog had quickly perished. I wouldn't have believed that but I work for vets and know how tough, in general, dogs can be in bad situations. Not everyone knows everything. He should have done more, sure -but he did do something. He wants his dog back and as long as he's willing to foot the bill at the vet and possibly the expenses of the rescuers - I say forgive and hope he's learned his lesson. We could learn a lesson from the dog - I'm sure she would forgive him.

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Sorry, one last note. Looks like the dog's owner *is* being charged:

http://www.9news.com/news/article/283650/188/Man-who-left-dog-on-14er-faces-animal-cruelty-charges-

 

He made bad choices. He made choices most of us would not have made.

 

Shutting up before y'all get sick of me. ;)

 

~ Gloria

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OK - changed my mind.

 

Guy blew it by not pursuing rescue avenues long or hard enough. Sounds like the guy was exhausted and overwhelmed, and didn't know what to do. He blew it, yes.

 

But... the dog is his dog. The dog loves him. He messed up, but I believe he loves the dog. What's the best end-of-life for this adult dog: a new home, or to return to the home she's known and be with the guy she loves?

 

So, for the sake of the love the dog feels for her master, I say give her back. I hardly think the guy is ever going to take her to the mountains again.

 

Mary

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Gloria I definitely agree that there are always two sides to a story. And I reiterate that while it was the height of stupidity to take a dog and an inexperienced hiker up there in the first place, people make mistakes and I am more than willing to agree with his decision to leave the dog and try to get the young hiker and himself to safety.

 

 

What I'm calling bullsh*t on is the fact that when he couldn't get others to go get the dog for him, he gave up. Though at this stage we only have his word that he even talked to the Sheriff. Since the Sheriff is quoted in the article and only mentions the actual rescuers contacting his office, I have to admit to some skepticism. Certainly doesn't mean he didn't, but it seems suspect. I don't believe for a second that a 29 year old doesn't understand the power of the internet. Or that he wasnt smart enough to post posters at ranger stations and trail entrances. The people that did rescue Missy endured a blizzard to get her down. Clearly this guy isn't the most skilled hiker (despite claiming Missy has done 6 14ers) and I would assume he learned that after leaving her, so I wouldn't necessarily expect him to go back up there by himself. But I would absolutely expect him to put out word asking for help. He didn't. Being remorseful doesn't excuse his lack of any legitimate effort. It's still neglect.

 

 

If he really does care about Missy as he claims, then he should do as Terrecar suggests and allow her to go to the people who DID make the effort to save her. After paying her vet bills. Just my opinion.

 

 

However, we'll never know the whole story, and it's easy to judge harshly from comfort of your couch. The bottom line is Missy has suffered a lot, and hopefully she'll never have to suffer again.

 

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Agree, Jexa. I would move heaven and earth for any of my dogs. He gave up when he should have pressed on. There is always something else one can do - even if it's just posting notices at the trail head. When word *did* get out, a rescue party was mustered within hours. He could not have known that would happen. It's little short of a miracle. But he should have at tried more. I would have.

 

Bless Missy. Wherever she ends up, I hope hers is a life of love and comfort, never again to suffer.

 

~ Gloria

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She may have been his dog but he left her on the mountain to die a slow and painful death. I feel like he gave up his right to her when he abandoned her to die because his efforts (whatever they may have been) would have resulted in her death. Without the rescuers and their truely amazing effort, there is no dog whose future we need to discuss.

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What I'm calling bullsh*t on is the fact that when he couldn't get others to go get the dog for him, he gave up. Though at this stage we only have his word that he even talked to the Sheriff. Since the Sheriff is quoted in the article and only mentions the actual rescuers contacting his office, I have to admit to some skepticism. Certainly doesn't mean he didn't, but it seems suspect. I don't believe for a second that a 29 year old doesn't understand the power of the internet. Or that he wasnt smart enough to post posters at ranger stations and trail entrances. The people that did rescue Missy endured a blizzard to get her down. Clearly this guy isn't the most skilled hiker (despite claiming Missy has done 6 14ers) and I would assume he learned that after leaving her, so I wouldn't necessarily expect him to go back up there by himself. But I would absolutely expect him to put out word asking for help. He didn't. Being remorseful doesn't excuse his lack of any legitimate effort. It's still neglect.

 

 

If he really does care about Missy as he claims, then he should do as Terrecar suggests and allow her to go to the people who DID make the effort to save her. After paying her vet bills. Just my opinion.

^^This. I understand that many people don't feel about their dogs the way I do. I have lost a dog in a state park full of caves (sinkhole type). I had horrific visions of Willow having fallen through into one of those caves and dying a slow, painful death. The very thought still brings tears to my eyes, and that event was a decade ago. I can forgive someone for being stupid, and I don't blame him for leaving her there in the first place, but I do believe the blame for essentially doing nothing after the fact rests squarely on his shoulders. Even if my work had forced me to leave the area where I lost my dog, I had already enlisted the aid of dog rescues in the area, was making Lost Dog posters, etc. Apparently he's capable of getting on the Internet to tell his side of the story; he certainly could have done the same thing to enlist aid in getting her off the mountain. That he did not is unconscionable, IMO.

 

It's clear there were people willing to help--who would have helped, and did help, as soon as the problem was publicized. The original owner could have sat in front of his computer and in less than an hour had his dog's story ALL OVER the place. And yet he didn't even bother to make that effort. The claim of being so distraught that he wasn't functioning doesn't hold water with me; it's perfectly fine to have a breakdown and go catatonic after you've done everything in your power to spread the word about your beloved pet in danger.

 

Although I can forgive him his inertia, and of course the dog would "forgive" him since she has no idea that he left her to die, I think he gave up his rights to Missy when he came down off that mountain and didn't move heaven and earth (nor even come close to doing so) to get her some help. His actions after the fact are not those of someone who cared as deeply about his dog as he claims.

 

J.

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^^This. I understand that many people don't feel about their dogs the way I do. I have lost a dog in a state park full of caves (sinkhole type). I had horrific visions of Willow having fallen through into one of those caves and dying a slow, painful death. The very thought still brings tears to my eyes, and that event was a decade ago. I can forgive someone for being stupid, and I don't blame him for leaving her there in the first place, but I do believe the blame for essentially doing nothing after the fact rests squarely on his shoulders. Even if my work had forced me to leave the area where I lost my dog, I had already enlisted the aid of dog rescues in the area, was making Lost Dog posters, etc. Apparently he's capable of getting on the Internet to tell his side of the story; he certainly could have done the same thing to enlist aid in getting her off the mountain. That he did not is unconscionable, IMO.

 

It's clear there were people willing to help--who would have helped, and did help, as soon as the problem was publicized. The original owner could have sat in front of his computer and in less than an hour had his dog's story ALL OVER the place. And yet he didn't even bother to make that effort. The claim of being so distraught that he wasn't functioning doesn't hold water with me; it's perfectly fine to have a breakdown and go catatonic after you've done everything in your power to spread the word about your beloved pet in danger.

 

Although I can forgive him his inertia, and of course the dog would "forgive" him since she has no idea that he left her to die, I think he gave up his rights to Missy when he came down off that mountain and didn't move heaven and earth (nor even come close to doing so) to get her some help. His actions after the fact are not those of someone who cared as deeply about his dog as he claims.

 

J.

 

I agree.

Anyone can make an error in judgement. I sure have, and on one occasion hiking I really wore my dog out as a result, and still feel bad about it. Mind you, he was with me, had water, and was not in real danger.

 

I can understand leaving the dog up there. I cannot under any circumstances understand his lack of action afterward. If it were my dog I would *never* give up until I had my dog back safely.

 

No matter the reasons, no matter the emotional turmoil or being "distraught", no matter work or anything else he was criminally neglectful and deserves to be punished by the law for that; and he has forfeited his right to have a dog IMO.

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I see it differently.

 

He did a terrible thing. I like to think -- and I do think -- that I would have acted very differently. But that does not mean he shouldn't get the dog back. Apparently he was a good owner to the dog for five years, and in all likelihood the dog would want to go on living with him. If so -- and it would be easy enough to ascertain that -- the only reason she shouldn't go back to her familiar life and her familiar person is if there were some reason to think he would neglect or abuse her in the future, and from what we know that doesn't seem likely. He came forward knowing he would be shamed and pilloried and very likely prosecuted, when he could have kept silent. It's hard to think of a reason for him to do that other than because he's full of remorse, loves his dog, and wants her back. I don't really care if he "deserves" to lose her. That's not as meaningful a question to me as where the dog would be happiest. If the dog already has a good home and a person she's attached to, let her stay with him. He gave way to weakness/panic/denial, but it was in a drastic situation that's unlikely to recur, and there's every reason to think he's learned from the experience. A chance for redemption is better than retribution.

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I still wonder if there's more to the story. It seems quite fool hardy to take a dog that size up into a mountain where it's clearly noted in several different places that that particular climb was not a good place for place for pets, children or anyone remotely unprepared. This person said that he saw that the trail was fine for dogs. Then they needed a rope and harness to get her up as far as they did. Huh? I don't doubt that he is sincerely sorry for what happened. But he seemed to have made a heck of a lot of bad decisions before he got to that point.

 

I kind of agree with this quote by the people who found her/initiated/took part in the rescue

 

According to Mr. Ortolani he was in a bad situation, and fearing for his life he made the decision to abandon his dog. I will say that I understand this. My wife and I had to abandon her as well. When we found her on Saturday we knew that we would be unable to bring her out ourselves and with extremely heavy hearts we left her on a rock knowing that she may die. That being said, this is as far as my understanding goes. Despite being forced to abandon her, we came back for her. When I left the trailhead on Monday morning I fully expected to find that she had passed away, yet I went anyway. Dozens of people devoted their time and effort to find a dog they had no connection with other than a photograph and the idea that looking for her was the right thing to do. I could make numerous other arguments but I believe that this is the heart of the issue.

 

I'm torn on if he should get the dog back or not. Choices have consequences. He chose to first to leave the dog and second not to attempt to go back for her, other people chose to make an effort so she could live. If one of them truly wants her, then why shouldn't they be allowed to keep her?

 

If he does get the dog back, I do hope the judge orders him to pay some sort restitution to the rescuers besides covering the vet costs. I think that that would be only fair. People went out and risked their lives because of his foolish actions - going there at night in inclement weather to look because they were afraid that the dog wouldn't be alive if they waited another day. All of this could have been avoided if he would have let people know or tried to get help earlier.

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