President Joe Biden’s younger dog, Commander, has been involved in several biting incidents at the White House and in Delaware, according to US Secret Service email correspondence, which show personnel from the agency raising concern about safety around the German Shepherd.
The White House said the Bidens were working through new training for the family pet following the incidents.
The emails, which were obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests by the conservative group Judicial Watch, show Commander was involved in 10 incidents, including one that required an officer to go to a local hospital.
Commander, 22 months old, arrived at the White House in 2021. In one of the incidents described in the Secret Service emails, an officer was referred to a local hospital in November 2022 after Commander clamped down on the officer’s arm and thighs.
Other incidents occurred when Commander was walking the grounds unleashed, according to the emails.
In one incident in October, first lady Dr. Jill Biden “couldn’t regain control” of the dog as it charged a member of Secret Service staff.
“I believe it’s only a matter of time before an agent/officer is attacked or bit,” the staff member wrote in an email.
“The White House complex is a unique and often stressful environment for family pets, and the First Family is working through ways to make this situation better for everyone,” said Elizabeth Alexander, communications director for the first lady.
“They have been partnering with the Secret Service and Executive Residence staff on additional leashing protocols and training, as well as establishing designated areas for Commander to run and exercise,” she went on. “According to the Secret Service, each incident referenced was treated similarly to comparable workplace injuries, with relevant notifications and reporting procedures followed. The President and First Lady are incredibly grateful to the Secret Service and Executive Residence staff for all they do to keep them, their family, and the country safe.”
The US Secret Service is “aware” of incidents with the first family’s pets, Anthony Guglielmi, USSS chief of communications, said in a statement.
“For the past several presidential administrations, the Secret Services has navigated how to best operate around family pets and these incidents are no exception. We take the safety and wellbeing of our employees extremely seriously,” Guglielmi said, adding that employees are encouraged to report any job-related injuries.
“As such, we are aware of past incidents involving first-family pets and these instances were treated similarly to comparable workplace injuries, to include with relevant notifications and reporting procedures followed,” he said.
Secret Service special agents and officers, Guglielmi said, “neither care for nor handle the first family’s pets,” but “continuously work with all applicable entities to minimize adverse impacts in an environment that includes pets.”
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