Reindeer cleared to land in Ga. on Christmas Eve

ATLANTA (WTOC) - Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin has granted a special 24-hour permit for nine flying reindeer to land in Georgia on Dec. 24, into the early-morning hours of Dec. 25.

The special permit waives routine veterinary requirements and inspections which protect the health of animals in the state and help prevent the introduction of exotic diseases. The reindeer named on the permit are: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph. The permit application was filed this week by a North Pole toymaker named Santa Claus.

"After consulting with our state veterinarians, I concluded these reindeer did not pose any threat to agriculture or violate any of our biosecurity measures," said Irvin in a statement. "As it was explained to me, these reindeer will be moving very quickly and will not intermingle with any livestock in our state.  In fact, they will not even touch the ground, but will only prance and paw on rooftops."

While Santa has indicated no plans to retire, Irvin is giving up the reins at the Georgia Department of Agriculture and will be retiring to his Habersham County farm in January.

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