NATIONAL NEWS

Biden’s dog Commander has bitten Secret Service officers 10 times in four months, records show

Jul 25, 2023, 8:08 AM

FILE - President Joe Biden's dog Commander looks out from the balcony during a pardoning ceremony f...

FILE - President Joe 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. Secret Service records show that President Joe Biden's dog Commander has bitten its officers stationed at the White House 10 times between October 2022 and January. At least one biting incident required a trip to the hospital for the injured officer. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden ‘s dog Commander bit Secret Service officers at least 10 times between October 2022 and January, including one incident that required a trip to the hospital for an injured law enforcement officer, 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 through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The group said it filed suit after the agency, a division of DHS, “failed to respond adequately” to its request last December for records about biting incidents involving the purebred German Shepherd Dog. The group said it filed the request after receiving a tip about Commander’s behavior.

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.”

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.

Biden received Commander in December 2021 as a gift from his brother James. The president’s previous dog, another German shepherd named Major, had been sent to live with friends in Delaware after some biting incidents of his own involving Secret Service officers and White House staff.

The family also has a cat, Willow.

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 later was placed on several days of restricted duty based on doctors’ advice.

Alexander said 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.

“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,” Alexander added.

Guglielmi said Secret Service employees are encouraged to report job-related injuries to their immediate supervisors for appropriate documentation.

“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.

“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,” Guglielmi added.

Commander is often seen being handled by the White House’s chief groundskeeper.

The New York Post was first to report on Commander’s biting incidents.

National News

Associated Press

Clashes arise over the economic effects of Louisiana’s $3 billion-dollar coastal restoration project

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Proponents of a nearly $3 billion project to restore part of southeast Louisiana’s rapidly vanishing coastline released a study Tuesday touting the expected economic benefits of its construction, even as the project faces pushback and litigation from communities who fear the environment and their livelihoods will be severely affected. The Mid-Barataria […]

6 minutes ago

Associated Press

How employers are taking steps to safeguard workers from extreme heat

McKINNEY, Texas (AP) — At the start of every work day, construction worker Charles Smith puts on the essentials: hard hat. Safety glasses. A reflective vest. And a small, watch-like band for his wrist. But rather than track time, its purpose is to ensure he doesn’t overheat while working during sweltering summer days in Texas. […]

24 minutes ago

Associated Press

State election directors fear the Postal Service can’t handle expected crush of mail-in ballots

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — State election directors from across the country voiced serious concerns to a top U.S. Postal Service official Tuesday that the system won’t be able to handle an expected crush of mail-in ballots in the November election. Steven Carter, manager of election and government programs for the postal service, attempted to reassure the […]

35 minutes ago

South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick listens to arguments by attorneys during a hearing, Tue...

Associated Press

North Dakota judge will decide whether to throw out a challenge to the state’s abortion ban

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Attorneys argued Tuesday over whether a North Dakota judge should toss a lawsuit challenging the state’s abortion ban, with the state saying the plaintiffs’ case rests on hypotheticals, and the plaintiffs saying key issues remain to be resolved at a scheduled trial. State District Judge Bruce Romanick said he will rule […]

47 minutes ago

Associated Press

Editorial Roundup: United States

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad: July 22 The Washington Post on what Kamala Harris needs to do to win the election With President Biden’s exit from the race, Democrats are quickly coalescing around Vice President Harris. Too quickly, arguably: Both she and the country would be better served by a […]

58 minutes ago

Associated Press

A sentence change assures the man who killed ex-Saints star Smith gets credit for home incarceration

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A 25-year prison sentence for Cardell Hayes, the man who killed former New Orleans Saints start Will Smith in 2016, was reduced to 22 years and two months on Tuesday by a Louisiana judge who sought to give Hayes credit for the time he spent confined to his home before his […]

59 minutes ago

Biden’s dog Commander has bitten Secret Service officers 10 times in four months, records show