Bidens’ dog, Commander, attacked Secret Service personnel multiple times, documents show


President Biden’s dog has on numerous occasions attacked, and at times injured, Secret Service personnel, according to federal documents released this week by the Department of Homeland Security.

Ten alleged attacks by Mr. Biden’s German Shepherd, named Commander, were detailed in 194 redacted pages of Secret Service emails, text messages and workers’ compensation filings obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch through a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The attacks took place over an approximately four-month period between October of 2022 and January of 2023. None of the injuries described in the documents were serious.

Commander, President Biden's German Shepherd
Commander, President Biden’s German Shepherd, oversees the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning on the South Lawn of the White House on Nov. 21, 2022, in Washington, D.C. 

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

In one incident, which occurred in the presence of First Lady Jill Biden on Oct. 26, 2022, an unnamed Secret Service officer wrote in an email that “while posted,” Commander “came charging at me.”

“Recently, Commander has been exhibiting extremely aggressive behavior,” the officer wrote.

The officer said that 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.”

That prediction came to fruition about a week later, on Nov. 3, 2022, in the White House, when an officer wrote that Commander “bit me twice and ran at me twice.” In another email describing the incident, the officer told supervisors that they were forced to use a “steel cart to shield” themselves from being charged a second time by Commander.  

The officer in question was treated at the scene by White House medical staff, and was then taken to a hospital for further treatment, according to the documents.

In a Dec. 11, 2022, attack in the Kennedy Garden of the White House, a Secret Service agent was bitten twice by Commander on the forearm and thumb in the presence of Mr. Biden, after the dog was taken off his leash, the emails show. The officer said they received treatment from White House medical personnel and was able to finish their shift.

Mr. Biden “was present and convened in the very quick interaction of Commander and seemed concerned about” the agent, according to an unnamed assistant special agent in charge, who described the injured agent as remaining “professional, calm” and showing “a mature demeanor during and after in the incident.”

In a Dec. 23, 2022, attack, an officer was bitten on the arm while the first family was returning from the tennis pavilion of the White House, documents read.

“Fortunately I was wearing multiple layers of clothing so it didn’t leave any marks,” the officer wrote in an email.

In an attack on Jan. 2, 2023, at Mr. Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, a Secret Service officer said Commander “immediately bit/latched onto the lower right side of my back” while the officer was speaking with a “house guest” at the front door. The officer said they did not require medical attention.

Commander was gifted to the Bidens as a puppy in December of 2021 following the death of their their German Shepherd “Champ” earlier that year. In 2021, Biden’s other German Shepherd, Major, was also involved in several similar biting incidents.

In a statement provided to CBS News on Tuesday, Elizabeth Alexander, a spokesperson for the first lady, said that the White House has 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.”

“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 stated.

Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said in a separate statement that “for the past several presidential administrations, the Secret Services has navigated how to best operate around family pets and these incidents are no exception.”

Guglielmi added that “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.”

Kathryn Watson contributed to this report. 

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