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President Biden’s Dog Attacks on White House Secret Service Officers Pose Serious Security Threat

ANIMAL WATCH

ANIMAL WATCH - On July 28, the watchdog group Judicial Watch posted the details of ten dog attacks by President Biden’s German Shepherd, Commander, on officers and agents of the Secret Service between October 2022 and January 2023.

This included bites, and other incidents in which the dog, chased, lunged at, and threatened others.

At least one incident was serious enough to require the officer to be transported to the hospital, according to records obtained.

The group said it was necessary to file a lawsuit to obtain the information because the agency, “failed to respond adequately” to a Public Records Request for “biting incidents involving Commander” after it received alarming reports on injuries to security personnel.

Judicial Watch states it received 194 pages of detailed records from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through a Freedom of Information Act Request lawsuit, which included the following:

In an email dated October 26, 2022, a Uniformed Division officer reports to colleagues: 

Commander has been exhibiting extremely aggressive behavior. Today, while posted, he came charging at me. The First Lady couldn’t regain control of commander [sic] and he continued to circle me. I believe it’s only a matter of time before an agent/officer is attacked or bit. [Emph added]

On November 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, the report stated.

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.

A spokesperson responded that the Bidens have been working with the Secret Service and the White House residence staff “on additional leashing protocols and training” for Commander, as well as establishing designated areas where he can run around for exercise.

Then, on November 10, 2022, a Secret Service memorandum describes an incident that occurred with Commander earlier in the day.

While patrolling the White House grounds, a Uniformed Division Secret Service officer was attacked by Commander while First Lady Jill Biden was walking him in the Kennedy Garden. The officer was bitten on the left thigh, and subsequently experienced “bruising, tenderness and pain in the bite area.” He was tended to by the White House medical unit and filed a workplace injury report with OSHA. [Occupational Safety and Health Administration]

COMMANDER IS SECOND AGGRESSIVE BIDEN DOG

 

In April 2022, the group had released records detailing multiple attacks on Secret Service members by President Biden’s German Shepherd dog, Major, at both the White House and Biden’s home in Wilmington, DE.

(Commander is the second Biden dog to behave aggressively since the President took office in 2021.)

The first was Major, a “rescued” dog from a humane society which was fostered at home by the Bidens prior to the election which moved them to the White House.

But Major did not take well to the busy life of politics and strangers and bit Secret Service officers twice before he was moved out of the White House and reportedly given to a family friend.

(See: Will President Joe Biden's Dog Bite Again?)

BAD BEHAVIOR STILL BEING IGNORED BY BIDENS

Commander is a purebred German Shepherd, given to President Biden as a puppy by his brother.

This bad behavior by Commander, a large dog that is almost three years old (born September 2021), is apparently being ignored or minimized by the President and First Lady, who are attributing Commander’s obvious discomfort and reactive behavior as “adjusting to the new environment.”

It is increasingly concerning since this is the second Biden pet that has proven to be a danger to humans.

A BITE CANNOT BE MINIMIZED

As with Major, the greatest danger to Commander’s future is that his bad behavior is not being taken seriously and/or will be explained away by politically correct descriptions.

Any intentional dog bite is a serious matter, whether or not severe damage was done. The dog is speaking his first language—direct action.

There is no indication that Commander was verbally corrected (even with just a firm “NO”). A lack of response could lead him to believe that he had done his job correctly.

He may have perceived that a new (or known person) should not be on the property—not a decision he is allowed to make at the White House.

Since there is no indication in any of the reports that Commander was constructively verbally reprimanded for the bite, it is possible that all he heard was excuses for his action, not displeasure by someone in control and whom he respects.

To be effective, the reprimand would have needed to be given within a couple of seconds of the dog’s action, according to a K-9 training expert.

If he did not sense displeasure by his owner/handler, most dogs assume that is an affirmation that the correct action was taken. So, he is likely to repeat the “successful” behavior.

IS IT THE DOG OR THE MAN?

There is always the controversy when a dog attacks—could the owner have seen what was coming and stopped it, or was the owner complicit in a (possibly subliminal) need to show power that is sensed—and fulfilled—by the dog?

Which begs the question of why there are no indications of professional behavior training for Commander, not even by the celebrity trainers who promise to resolve all aggression and other issues because claims and publicity—not necessarily outcome—boost their relevancy and income.

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.”

The Secret Service provides security protection for the president and his family, and scores of its officers are posted around the executive mansion and its sprawling grounds.

THE WHITE HOUSE GROUNDSKEEPER – LET’S ASK DALE!

 

Secret Service officials at the White House commented that Commander was frequently seen being walked by the groundskeeper [with whom he apparently feels safe].

A heart-warming Associated Press (AP) article, on October 24, 2022, “Meet Dale Haney, the White House groundskeeper for 50 years,” shows the Bidens planting an elm tree in honor of this jovial man who has cared for the White House grounds and pets through many terms and generations.

Perhaps Dale has the answer to Commander’s anxiety around strangers and some suggestions on how to provide a “safer sanctuary” area for the remainder of the Bidens’ term of office, at which time Commander could be kept in a quiet home environment without invasive security.

SECURITY ISSUE CANNOT WAIT UNTIL A TRAGEDY OCCURS

But, something must be done soon. These officers cannot provide safety when they—or others on the premises—are not safe from physical attack by a large and aggressive dog.

It is the responsibility of President Biden to respond to this critical situation promptly and either move Commander to a safer location or re-home him where he can live without feeling threatened by the fluid nature of the White House.

SECRET SERVICE AGENTS NEED SAFETY ALSO

The Secret Service agents and officers at the White House must be alert and focused 24-hours a day to every nuance of danger, in order to avert any imminent or potential threat to the White House, its residents—especially the President—and, thus, the security of the entire nation.

In the event of a warning of any kind, or other urgent need to protect the grounds and structures on the White House property, these agents—who readily risk their own lives for political leaders—cannot be distracted by the need to avoid an attack by the President’s dog.

 

(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former Los Angeles City employee, an animal activist and a contributor to CityWatch.)