WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s dog, Commander, is “not presently on the White House campus” following a series of biting incidents involving White House staff and U.S. Secret Service officers, a spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden said late Wednesday.
Elizabeth Alexander, the first lady’s communications director, said Biden and his wife care deeply about the safety of White House staff and those who protect them every day.
“They remain grateful for the patience and support of the U.S. Secret Service and all involved, as they continue to work through solutions,” she said in an emailed statement, adding, “Commander is not presently on the White House campus while next steps are evaluated.”
Alexander did not say where the dog was sent. The 2-year-old German shepherd was last seen Saturday on an upper balcony of the White House.
The statement came hours after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked Wednesday’s daily briefing about a fresh allegation that Commander had bitten a White House staffer.
Jean-Pierre referred questions to the first lady’s office, which said Commander and Dale Haney, the head groundskeeper at the White House, were playing and that no skin was broken in an incident that was photographed by a tourist and shared with a news organization, which published the image online.
Commander had been involved in a series of biting incidents, most recently on Sept. 25. A uniformed Secret Service officer was bitten at the White House that night and was treated by on-site by medical personnel, said USSS chief of communications Anthony Guglielmi.
Alexander said at the time that “the White House can be a stressful environment for family pets” and that the Bidens were continuing to “work on ways to help Commander handle the often unpredictable nature of the White House grounds.”
The German shepherd purebred has bit or otherwise attacked Secret Service personnel at least 10 other times between October 2022 and January, including one incident that required a hospital visit by the injured law enforcement officer, according to records from the Department of Homeland Security.
Commander is the second of Biden’s dogs at the White House that behaved aggressively, including biting Secret Service personnel and White House staff. They eventually sent the first dog, a German shepherd named Major, to live with friends in Delaware after those incidents.
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.
Commander was a gift to Biden in December 2021 from his brother James. The family also has a cat, Willow.