Commander Has 11th Biting Incident

"First dog" bites another Secret Service officer
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 25, 2023 2:37 PM CDT
Updated Sep 27, 2023 3:00 AM CDT
Biden's Dog Keeps Biting Secret Service Officers
President Biden's dog Commander looks out from the balcony during a pardoning ceremony for the national Thanksgiving turkeys at the White House in Washington, Nov. 21, 2022.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
UPDATE Sep 27, 2023 3:00 AM CDT

Make that 11: "First dog" Commander bit another Secret Service officer this week, bringing the total number of bites he's doled out since October 2022 to 11. The 2-year-old German shepherd bit one of the service's uniformed division police officers Monday night at the White House, according to a spokesperson who said the female officer was treated at the White House Medical Office. "As we've noted before, the White House can be a stressful environment for family pets, and the First Family continues to work on ways to help Commander handle the often unpredictable nature of the White House grounds," a spokesperson for Jill Biden said in a statement cited by NBC News. "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."

Jul 25, 2023 2:37 PM CDT

President Biden's dogs apparently don't like Secret Service officers. First, Major got shipped out after biting one. Now, Commander is in trouble. The German shepherd bit Secret Service officers at least 10 times between October 2022 and January, including one incident that required a trip to the hospital, according to records from the Department of Homeland Security. The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch on Tuesday released nearly 200 pages of Secret Service records that it obtained on the matter through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, per the AP.

One example: On Nov. 3, 2022, a Secret Service official emailed colleagues that Commander had bitten a uniformed officer twice—on the upper right arm and thigh. Staff from the White House medical unit treated the officer and decided to have the individual taken to a hospital. A captain of the Uniform Division emailed later that day that he had been advised that Commander was up to date on his vaccinations. A note the following day added details about the attack, including that the officer who was bitten used a steel cart to protect himself from another attack. The officer was later placed on several days of restricted duty based on doctors' advice.

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The White House and the Secret Service appeared to play down the situation on Tuesday. Elizabeth Alexander, communications director for first lady Jill Biden, said in an email that the White House complex is a "unique and often stressful environment" for family pets and that the Biden family was "working through ways to make this situation better for everyone." Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesperson for the Secret Service, said in a separate email that his agency has for the past several presidents "navigated how best to operate around family pets and these incidents are no exception. We take the safety and wellbeing of our employees extremely seriously."

(More presidential pets stories.)

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