Biden family dog Commander is no longer at the White House after biting incidents

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s dog Commander, whose history of biting became public in recent months, is no longer at the White House, a spokesperson for the first lady said on Wednesday.

Jill Biden’s spokesperson, Elizabeth Alexander, said the Bidens are still determining what will happen next for the 2-year-old German shepherd, who has been involved in a number of biting incidents, some of which required medical care. 

“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,” Alexander 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.”

The Secret Service declined to comment.

The statement came shortly after CNN published an article saying that Commander had bitten executive residence staff and White House employees, and that the number of nipping incidents was well above the 11 that were previously reported.

The Daily Mail published photos of Commander and White House staffer, Dale Haney, who has served at the White House for more than fifty years and is the superintendent of grounds.

A senior official said that the White House had checked with Haney, who indicated to them that “Commander was being playful, and there was no bite, no pressure of teeth on his skin, no mark — just some dog slobber.”

Haney has been a regular caretaker of Commander. He has cared for first dogs over the years including the Obamas’ Bo and Sunny, the Bushes’ Barney and Miss Beazley and others going back to Richard Nixon’s pets.

Commander’s biting history was first made public in July, when the conservative group Judicial Watch released records that identified biting incidents of mixed severity from October 2022 to January of this year.

Records released by the group showed that in one of the incidents last year, a Secret Service officer was taken to the hospital after sustaining a bite in the upper arm and a thigh.

Last month, a Secret Service spokesman also confirmed to NBC News that Commander bit a Secret Service Uniformed Division police officer.

Commander, who arrived at the White House as a puppy in 2021, is the second dog that has posed challenges to the Bidens after demonstrating aggressive behavior. The Bidens’ other dog, Major, was sent to live in Delaware after repeated nipping incidents at the White House.

The Bidens’ older German shepherd Champ died at age 13 in 2021, months after Biden took office.

Kelly O’Donnell reported from Washington. Zoë Richards reported from New York.

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