Records obtained from the Department of Homeland Security reveal that President Joe Biden’s dog, Commander, has reportedly bitten Secret Service officers on at least ten occasions between October 2022 and January. One incident even resulted in an injured law enforcement officer requiring a hospital visit. The watchdog group Judicial Watch released nearly 200 pages of Secret Service records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit after the agency initially failed to respond adequately to their request for information about the biting incidents involving the purebred German Shepherd Dog.
Both the White House and the Secret Service downplayed the situation, attributing the incidents to the unique and sometimes stressful environment for family pets in the White House complex. They asserted that they take the safety and well-being of their employees seriously and have been navigating how to handle family pets in and around the executive mansion for several administrations.
President Biden received Commander as a gift from his brother James in December 2021, following the rehoming of his previous German Shepherd, Major, due to biting incidents involving Secret Service officers and White House staff. The Bidens also have a cat named Willow.
In one incident on November 3, 2022, Commander bit a uniformed officer twice, resulting in injuries to the officer’s upper right arm and thigh. The officer was taken to the hospital for treatment, and the Secret Service confirmed that Commander’s vaccinations were up to date.
In response to these incidents, the Bidens have been working with the Secret Service and White House residence staff to establish additional leashing protocols and training for Commander. They are also designating specific areas for him to run around and exercise.
The Secret Service treats such incidents similarly to workplace injuries, encouraging employees to report job-related injuries to their supervisors for appropriate documentation and follow-up. Despite these incidents, the Bidens expressed gratitude for the efforts of the Secret Service and Executive Residence staff in keeping them, their family, and the country safe.