“Who’s at fault? We’d love to hear your opinion.”
By now, you’ve probably heard that President Biden’s German shepherd, Commander, has bit several secret service agents. And, according to reports, the dog’s bite tally is at 10.
The bites occurred during four months between October 2022 to January 2023. Thankfully, we haven’t heard of any more recent bites. This is a good thing since one of the bites reportedly was serious enough to send an agent to the hospital.
The bite incidents became public after Judicial Watch (a watchdog group) filed a lawsuit to get access to emails and texts between Secret Service agents and other officials who describe “aggressive” encounters with Commander.
The reports detail some of the incidents agents have had with Commander such as this one that happened on October 26, 2022, while he was on a walk with Lady Jill Biden:
“The First Lady couldn’t regain control of Commander and he continued to circle me. I believe it’s only a matter of time before an agent/officer is attacked or bit,” an email about a Secret Service official said (the names of most of the agents and officials were redacted).
Apparently, the agent wasn’t wrong because it was only a few days later on November 3, 2022, that Commander did bite an officer. The officer was bitten twice, once on the arm and once on the leg. Reportedly, the officer then had to shield himself with a steel cart to prevent another bite from happening.
But Jill Biden wasn’t the only handler that couldn’t control Commander. President Biden was walking him in the Kennedy Garden and decided to let him off leash. Commander then rushed an agent. That agent was also bit twice, once on the forearm and once on the thumb. Fortunately, the agent wasn’t seriously hurt and was able to finish working their shift.
But, Commander isn’t the first dog that the Biden’s have owned that has bit people. When they moved into the White House, they brought a German Shepherd named Major with them. They adopted Major from a shelter when he was young.
Before long, Major was involved in a couple of biting incidents and after consultation with behavior experts, Biden’s sent him to live with some family friends. Judicial Watch also obtained hundreds of pages of records about what went on with Major.
But, Commander wasn’t a rescue. He arrived at the White House as a puppy. He was a gift from Biden’s brother, James. Even so, Commander’s behavior issues were brought to the attention of Secret Service Director, Kimberly Cheatle, records show.
About the incidents, Anthony Guglielmi said, “For the past several presidential administrations, the Secret Service has navigated how to best operate around family pets and these incidents are no exception.”
So, what happens when a presidential dog bites White House staff?
Guglielmi went on to say, “Past incidents involving first-family pets were also treated as workplace injuries. While special agents and officers neither care for nor handle the first family’s pets, we continuously work with all applicable entities to minimize adverse impacts in an environment that includes pets.”
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Sadly, Commander never should have been put in the position where he was able to bite someone in the first place. He obviously needs more socialization and training. Perhaps such an intelligent breed with strong protective and herding instincts should have been protected from the types of situations that led up to the bites.
Thankfully, the Biden’s are not giving up on Commander and he’ll get the help he needs to survive in the stressful and potentially chaotic White House Environment. According to NPR:
The Bidens are “working through ways to make this situation better for everyone,” said Elizabeth Alexander, communications director for first lady Jill Biden
“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,” Alexander said.
Alexander also noted that the White House complex can often be a stressful environment for family pets.
What’s your opinion on the situation? As German Shepherd lovers, we’d love to hear it. Please feel free to share this article with your friends.