Lost in transport: I-Team uncovers missing dog complaints

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The ABC7 I-Team is exposing complaints against drivers who make deliveries for a popular shipping company. (WLS)

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
The ABC7 I-Team is exposing complaints against drivers who make deliveries for a popular shipping company.

The customers say they chose uShip to transport their dogs. The Internet-based company uses a bidding process using independent contractors to get your delivery made - at a lower cost.

But the I-Team found that there have been some major problems with dogs not making it to their destinations.

A room in Logan Square was going to be home for KD - a boarder collie who was recently being transported from Denver.

"That day turned into not a happy day, not an exciting day, but a panicked day reaching out to friends - blasting Facebook - doing everything we could to try to find her quickly," said Walker Berry, her owner.

It was the end of June and KD was supposed to stay in Chicago with Leah Ellenbogen for a few months before going to Berry in New York City. But KD never made it.

"And I said, 'What do you mean she ran away?' He says he let her out to go to the bathroom outside a truck stop in Joliet," Berry said.

That driver who lost Berry's dog was hired via the company uShip. It's a website that connects customers to independent drivers.

Customers pay uShip to add their shipment to a driver's already planned route.

"I want my dog back, that's all I really want, it has been a long time now so it is disheartening," Berry said.

Berry says uShip printed hundreds of lost dog flyers, but KD wasn't found. And the I-Team found other complaints.

This uShip blog, posted by the company's senior director of customer operations, acknowledges "a series of incredibly unfortunate pet transport issues."

It then says: "... there's no excuse for how several of the transporters have handled these particular pet shipments. None. Clearly they've messed up in a colossal way, and they know it."

From its headquarters in Austin, Texas, uShip told the I-Team that problems represent a tiny fraction of shipments and that they transport 10,000 dogs a year.

"It can be tricky, it can be stressful for the pet and stressful for the driver- pets tend to want to escape," said Dean Jutilla, uShip.

uShip says it provided refunds and worked extensively with customers like Berry - and the owners of French bull dog Sully.

Sully was lost in route from California to Texas in mid-July. There's now a Facebook page dedicated to help find her.

The pet owner tells the I-Team that the driver told them that Sully died in transport - but they say they were never supplied evidence or a body.

uShip says it is still investigating that incident and says future customers should ask tough questions before booking.

"They can also ask questions to the transporter - say, 'Hey, tell me more about yourself, what has been your experience shipping pets,' or 'I see you haven't shipped pets - tell me more about how you are going to handle it.'"

uShip says it suspended the drivers who were transporting Sully and KD.

"It is absolutely heartbreaking. She used sleep with me every night, so I don't wake up with my dog - she was my best buddy," Berry said.

Berry believes that there is a chance KD could be in the Joliet area, perhaps with a new family who took her in.

He's asking anyone who may have his dog to return her for a reward.

uShip also tells the I-Team that it's made improvements by increasing communication and education about pet transport with its drivers.

Related Topics:
petsI-Teamlost petpetconsumer
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