NEW JERSEY – Senator Anthony Bucco’s (R-Morris, Somerset) legislation that would designate the Seeing Eye® dog as the official New Jersey State Dog has passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
The Seeing Eye® headquarters, which is located in Morristown, has trained and matched more than 17,000 visually-impaired individuals with service animals.
“For decades now, Seeing Eye has been placing loving service dogs into homes all around the country,” Bucco said. “It is an honor to be able to sponsor a bill that pays tribute to this organization’s legacy of uplifting our visually-impaired residents, by allowing them to live as independently as possible. These dogs are miracle-workers, plain and simple, and we are so grateful to have a group like Seeing Eye making a difference in our community, day in and day out.”
Presently, there are four primary canine breeds trained to be Seeing Eye dogs: German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador/Golden Crosses.
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.
“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.”
“Today, we are one step closer to honoring the thousands of Seeing Eye dogs trained in New Jersey, as well as their dedicated instructors,” Bucco said. “Seeing Eye has played a key role in shaping the public’s understanding of guide dogs. By designating the Seeing Eye dog as New Jersey’s Official State Dog, our new furry friends can educate all New Jerseyans on the importance of service animals.”