HERSHEY, Pa. (WJW) — Santa's reindeer have been cleared for takeoff!
Pennsylvania's Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding, and State Veterinarian, Dr. Kevin Brightbill, met with Santa Claus and his nine reindeer at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane on Thursday to announce that they've received a clean bill of health and can fly on December 24.
The reindeer - answering to the names of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen and Rudolph - received clearance to fly from Alaska’s state veterinarian.
“Not everyone knows what takes place behind the scenes to allow Santa and his nine reindeer to take flight on Christmas Eve,” said Agriculture Secretary Redding. “Thanks to Dr. Brightbill, his counterpart in the North Pole, and Santa’s due diligence, we can expect gifts under the tree Christmas morning.”
The reindeer received a certificate of veterinary inspection and permit to ship that allows them to fly from rooftop to rooftop for the purpose of toy delivery.
State officials said that for animals that travel between states, such certificates help ensure that contagious diseases are not spread.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture veterinarians supplied Santa's reindeer with the certificate this year since they are residing at Hersheypark for the next few days.
"Hersheypark is honored that Santa trusts his nine reindeer to the care of our ZooAmerica team throughout the holiday season," said Quinn Bryner, Director of PR at Hersheypark. "We're the only place to see them all together in the Northeast through Jan. 1 so we wish them a magical flight before they come back to Hershey!"
Make sure to track Santa and the reindeer's flight path on December 24 using NORAD’s Santa Tracker.