PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A Tampa Bay area man will spend the next 10 days sleeping in cages at an animal shelter to raise awareness and donations.
"Go get him! Go get him! Woop!" yelled Kris Rotonda, as he encouraged a rambunctious terrier mix named Rambo up for treats.
“He’s three, he was abandoned, he’s been here since September 16," Kris said.
The cages at the Humane Society of Pasco County are filled with dogs that need a home but Kris says every day, many of them are being passed up.
“They don’t know that most shelters close at 4 p.m. and these dogs don’t get seen until the next morning,” he said.
It’s why during the summer, Kris spent 72 hours sleeping in cages with them.
“I bring about four lanterns, I don’t even bring a bed I’m so easy. I could sleep on concrete,” he laughed.
He documented the entire experience on camera so people could see what it’s like to be stuck in a cage.
“People always say, 'you know when they’re behind the cages and they’re barking, it’s like they’re mean,'” Kris said. “They’re not mean, they’re just in a kennel their whole life!”
He was inspired after his dog Jordan passed away in 2018. He rescued Jordan in 2008.
“Jordan died of heart cancer and I thought really hard for her to stay alive as long as I could,” he said. “The minute she died, it was like that bell rung and I knew it was time to switch gears in my life and go after what I said I was gonna do along time ago.”
He started a charity called Jordan’s Way so he could help raise money and donations for shelters across the country.
He says the response after doing the 72-hour challenge in August was tremendous. He even teamed up with big brands like Chewy.com and Purina.
Now, he’s challenging himself to a 10-day sleepover at the Humane Society of Pasco County. He says the shelter is in desperate need of a new building with inside cages.
“These are a good-hearted people, these people love this place, I still don’t see how they’re doing in terms of like this is volunteer base, every day somebody comes here,” he said.
He also hopes his work inspires others to adopt, donate their time and money to help keep local shelters stocked with supplies.
“I’m a big believer that 85 million people own a pet and there’s only 15,000 animal shelters, things could be a lot better,” he said.
If you’d like to get in touch with Kris, you can contact him through Jordan’s Way Charity.