TRENTON, N.J. – The bill designating the Seeing Eye® dog as the State Dog, has now been signed into law.
The Seeing Eye, which is located in Morris Township, enhances the independence, dignity and self-confidence of people who are blind, through the use of their specially trained dog. According to the organization, they have trained and paired more than 17,000 guide dogs with owners who are blind.
“Since 1929, Seeing Eye dogs have been trained to enhance the ability of people who are blind, helping them to live more independently,” said Senator Anthony M. Bucco (R-25). “The signing of this legislation will help our great state pay tribute to these intelligent canines and better inform the public about the wonderful work these dogs do on a daily basis for people who are blind and visually impaired.”
Senator Bucco’s father, the late Senator Anthony R. Bucco, first introduced the legislation (S-2849) in July 2018. Anthony M. Bucco, serving in the General Assembly at the time, sponsored the identical Assembly version of the legislation (A-4590).
“My father and I shared a passion for the work of The Seeing Eye organization and its mission to increase the independence of those who are blind and visually impaired,” said Bucco. “This was one of the last bills that we worked on together prior to his passing. I couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to my father than the signing of this legislation which encapsulates his deeply held belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to live with dignity and respect.”
Currently, there are four primary canine breeds trained to be Seeing Eye dogs: German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador/Golden Crosses.
“For nearly a century, The Seeing Eye has been a pioneer and leader in the service dog industry, not only providing expertly trained Seeing Eye dogs to people who are blind and visually impaired, but in advocating for the rights of people with disabilities across the United States and Canada,” said Seeing Eye President and CEO Glenn Hoagland. “We are proud that all Seeing Eye dogs are born and trained in New Jersey and thank Senator Bucco and the New Jersey Senate for recognizing the Seeing Eye dog as a symbol of our great state.”