In a recent incident at the White House, Commander, President Joe Biden’s German Shepherd, displayed aggressive behavior by biting a groundskeeper, Dale Haney, who had been innocently playing with the dog on September 13. This marks the 12th known biting incident involving Commander, raising significant concerns about the dog’s behavior and the safety of White House staff.
The incident was inadvertently captured by a tourist in a photo, vividly showing Commander sinking his teeth into Haney’s left arm. Despite attempts to attribute the dog’s behavior to Secret Service agents’ “unfriendly expressions,” it’s worth noting that the victim in this case was not a member of the security detail but a longstanding groundskeeper. Haney, who has worked at the White House for over half a century, has a history of tending to presidential pets, with notable appearances walking dogs for previous administrations.
Efforts have been made to address Commander’s behavior. The First Family has been working on new training and leashing protocols for the family pet in response to previous incidents. While White House sources assert that Commander is generally friendly and that the biting incidents have been isolated, the pattern of aggressive behavior is concerning.
Commander, a two-year-old German Shepherd, became a part of the First Family in December 2021 as a birthday gift to the president from his brother Jim Biden and sister-in-law Sara Biden. Since his arrival, Commander’s behavior has been under scrutiny, with a string of incidents indicating a potential hazard.
Former USSS agent Jonathan Wackrow emphasized the gravity of the issue, stating that bringing a potentially dangerous dog into the workplace, especially one as significant as the president’s residence, is a serious concern. As the White House continues to grapple with this ongoing issue, it is clear that further measures need to be taken to ensure the safety and well-being of all personnel working in the White House, as well as visitors to the historic residence.