Bill Honors Service Animals Trained by New Jersey Organization
Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris, Somerset) has introduced legislation that would designate the Seeing Eye® dog as the official New Jersey State Dog.
The Seeing Eye headquarters is located in Morristown. The organization has trained and matched more than 17,000 visually-impaired individuals with service animals.
Sen. Anthony Bucco’s bill would designate the Seeing Eye® dog as the official New Jersey State Dog. (Photo courtesy of The Seeing Eye)
“We often take for granted seeing a stop sign or the edge of a train platform, but for those who are visually-impaired, something so simple can become a critical or even life-threatening obstacle,” Bucco said. “Every day, Seeing Eye dogs are trained in Morris County to create safety, independence, and mobility for those in need. This legislation is a great way to honor all they have done for the thousands of people in need of a loving service animal in New Jersey.”
“We started the guide dog movement in the United States nearly 90 years ago, setting the standard and linking The Seeing Eye and the State of New Jersey as pioneers in the service dog industry. We thank Sen. Bucco for introducing this bill, and for recognizing our long history,” said Jim Kutsch, Seeing Eye President and CEO. “Each year, hundreds of individuals travel to Morris County from across the United States and Canada to enhance their independence with a Seeing Eye® dog, and our iconic brand is recognized around the world for the highest level of guide dog quality.”
From left: Sen. Anthony Bucco with “NJ,” a seeing eye dog in training; Seeing Eye CEO Jim Kutsch, and volunteer puppy-raiser Roger Woodhour. (SenateNJ.com)
Bucco noted that the Seeing Eye organization has also done a tremendous job at meeting the needs of New Jersey’s veterans. Seeing Eye prioritizes applications submitted by service members, and veterans are only charged a nominal $1 fee for the cost of the dog, instruction, and other resources.
Presently, there are four primary canine breeds trained to be Seeing Eye dogs: German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador/Golden Crosses.
“A Seeing Eye dog’s intelligence, loyalty, and gentle temperament make the animal an important resource for those who are visually-impaired,” Bucco added. “The goal of this legislation is to not only honor Seeing Eye dogs, but to also educate the public on how valuable these animals are for people with disabilities across New Jersey. I hope to see it become law as soon as possible.”
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