Watch: Gov. Wolf & Alaska State Vet approve Santa’s reindeer for flight

Western PA News

HERSHEY – On Thursday, Governor Tom Wolf met Santa and his nine reindeer at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane to announce the reindeer are cleared for take-off on Dec. 24.

“I’m excited to announce that Santa’s reindeer are in good health–despite one’s very bright red nose–and ready to deliver toys to the good girls and boys of Pennsylvania tomorrow evening,” said Governor Wolf. “I’m grateful to the Department of Agriculture for coordinating to ensure not only a merry Christmas morning across the commonwealth but keep animals in Pennsylvania safe and healthy. All nine reindeer are physically fit and in good spirits, they’re ready to fly this holiday season.”

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph received clearance to fly to Pennsylvania from Dr. Robert F. Gerlach, the state veterinarian of Alaska. This Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and Permit to Ship certifies them to fly to households across the commonwealth to deliver toys on Christmas Eve.

“Thanks to Dr. Brightbill and his counterpart in Alaska, we can certify Santa’s reindeer are healthy and can safely fly across state lines,” said Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding. “Veterinary health inspections are a great preventative measure to ensure animals are healthy and able to travel. We greatly appreciate Santa taking these necessary steps to promote the wellbeing of his reindeer.”

Veterinary health certificates are required as an assurance to prevent contagious diseases from crossing state lines. Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture veterinarians supply these certifications and inspections for animals residing in PA before they are transported across state lines.

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Santa has entrusted Hersheypark Christmas Candylane to care for his reindeer for the past 25 years. The ZooAmerica team provides them with a healthy diet, exercise and a spacious barn.

“For 25 years, Hersheypark Christmas Candylane has been the only place in the Northeast to see all nine of Santa’s reindeer up-close during the holiday season,” said Quinn Bryner, Director of Public Relations for Hersheypark. “We’re honored that Santa has entrusted our incredible team at ZooAmerica to care for the reindeer inside Hersheypark through Jan. 2 before they return to the North Pole.”

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