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The UnderHound Railroad
February 09, 2005
UnderHound Railroad Transports 95 to Safety
On January 15th the UnderHound Railroad transported 95 animals, domestic canines and felines, to safety on our “Jingle Balls” tour. They were steps from euthanasia by injection or by the arcane, cruel method of gas in an airtight chamber. Come hell or high snow, we needed to roll despite an ominous weather forecast of subzero temperatures. We got out of the starting gate ahead of the huge blizzard, but Ol’ Man Winter dealt us a cold, icy blow with temperatures that plummeted to 15 below at points in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
It was a long day that started before daybreak and ended at sunrise the next day. Animals were welcomed aboard two parallel transport lines that intersected in the Chicagoland area. The first team of drivers carried animals from West Virginia and Kentucky through South Bend, Indiana; the second group originated in Ohio and welcomed Indiana shelter animals aboard in Indianapolis. Fourteen municipal shelters were represented. Seventeen rescue groups from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota offered these shelter animals a place to go. Highlighting the effort on the ground, a rescue group from the state of Washington flew in to meet us in Chicago to pick up a beautiful three-legged blue-eyed babe named Wolfie who was injured by a car.
The UnderHound Railroad is a team of diehard "Road Warriors", a fast growing group of animal devotees dedicated to the peaceful liberation of our nation's most desperate castoffs. We are a transport team, a network of shelters and rescue groups, donors and coordinators, working together to save as many animals per mission as is practically possible. We aim to maximize efficiency without sacrificing the safety of our precious cargo and the team that serves them. We have proven time and again that animals can be transported safely and efficiently on a large scale. Our strategy is an appropriate response to the crisis our shelters face. They aren’t killing a cat here, a dog there. Our nation is killing en masse. Lack of transportation is often the only obstacle standing in an animal’s way of getting out.
How We Work and Who We Serve
Participating shelters must have a thorough review process of all destination groups. We want to know that everything has been done to ensure the safety of their animals. We ask that our rescue groups pull responsibly. We do not want to transport an animal of a profile type that is similar to animals in shelters where they are heading.
Currently, we serve shelters in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. We operate Northeast runs as far up as Maine; in the Midwest, our flagship region runs through Chicago and Minnesota on up to Manitoba, Canada. We pursue a "hub and spoke" format using strategically positioned transfer points where shelters join the transport. This is far more efficient than the traditional “linear” strategy. It enables us to increase our save rate many fold while improving the safety and efficiency of our efforts. In turn, we more fully utilize our resources, decreasing our cost per animal, which is currently about $7. When our donors make a contribution to UHRR's missions, they can be assured we are using their money wisely. The rescue community is under-resourced. Nobody should ever have to pay a “for fee” transporter.
We would like to expand our network of shelters we serve to encompass a broader region of the country. If you represent a shelter or if you are a like-minded transporter, please let us know.
For more information on the UnderHound Railroad write to
Dena A. Allen
Based in New York City