President Joe Biden’s two-year-old German shepherd, Commander, has been removed from the White House after staff were repeatedly subjected to far more attacks from the animal than the administration has acknowledged.
CNN reported that the U.S. Secret Service has publicly acknowledged that the dog has attacked its agents 11 times, but the true number is higher when “executive residence staff and other White House workers” are counted. Some of the instances have required treatment at hospitals. No exact number of attacks was given.
The animal was reportedly so vicious that staff at the White House warned the Bidens that they could face a lawsuit over the injuries that workers have sustained.
“The President and First Lady care deeply about the safety of those who work at the White House and those who protect them every day,” a Biden official said in a statement. “They remain grateful for the patience and support of the U.S. Secret Service and all involved, as they continue to work through solutions. Commander is not presently on the White House campus while next steps are evaluated.”
Secret Service told CNN that there was not a complete number of known instances where the dog attacked people at the White House where people fear “about workplace safety.”
The report said that there has been tension between the Secret Service and the Biden family after Biden’s older dog, Major, attacked a Secret Service agent, which caused trust issues.
A source close to Biden’s Secret Service detail said that they were “beyond the point of worrying about trust being broken” and that they had to “speak up” about the “hostile” and “dangerous” work environment that they are subjected to because of Biden’s dog.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked multiple times about the matter during Wednesday’s press conference.
Each time she was asked about the dog, her exact response was: “I would refer you to the Secret Service and also the first lady’s office.”
Jonathan Wackrow, a former U.S. Secret Service agent, said that it was a serious situation and that Biden was creating an unsafe environment for people.
“Imagine you’re the owner of a business, a CEO of a company, you bring your dog in, and your dog keeps biting employees. You’re creating an unsafe work environment. And that’s what’s happening now,” said Wackrow. “There’s uniqueness here where it’s the residence of the President of the United States, but it’s also the workplace for hundreds, if not thousands, of people. And you can’t bring a hazard into the workplace, and that’s what is essentially happening with this dog. One time, you can say it’s an accident, but now multiple incidents is a serious issue.”