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Santa’s reindeer approved for flight, Pennsylvanians can expect Christmas Eve deliveries


Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf was joined by Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding and Pennsylvania State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill to meet Santa and his nine reindeer at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane to announce that the reindeer have received a clean bill of health and are cleared for take-off on December 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. This Certificate of Veterinary Inspection and Permit to Ship certifies them to fly from rooftop to rooftop across the commonwealth for the purpose of toy delivery 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 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.

Santa has entrusted Hersheypark Christmas Candylane to care for his reindeer for the past 25 years. The ZooAmerica team takes special care of Santa’s reindeer during the holiday season, providing the reindeer a healthy diet, exercise and a spacious barn to call home.

“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 PR, 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.”

To learn more about the department’s efforts to protect animal health, visit agriculture.pa.gov.

Note: Photos and video will be available at www.pacast.com.