EXCLUSIVE: President Joe Biden’s German Shepherd Commander is seen biting White House staffer, days before it bit Secret Service agent, in new photos
- Previously unseen photos obtained by DailyMail.com show Commander biting White House grounds superintendent Dale Haney, on September 13
- The incident, unwittingly captured on camera by a tourist, took place almost two weeks before the German Shepherd bit a Secret Service agent
- At the time it was reported as the two-year-old dog’s 11th known biting incident, but DailyMail.com can reveal it was in fact the 12th
New pictures have emerged which show Joe Biden’s German Shepherd, Commander biting yet another White House staffer just as presidential sources tried to lay the blame for the animal’s aggressive behavior on Secret Service agents.
White House sources on Monday made the assertion that Commander targets members of the president’s security detail because of their ‘unfriendly expressions.’
Now DailyMail.com can reveal that the two-year-old German Shepherd bit another member of staff barely two weeks ago.
The staff member, Dale Haney, 71, is not part of Biden’s security team and was simply playing with the dog.
A photo obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com shows Commander biting yet another staffer at the White House last month
The incident, which was unwittingly captured on camera by a tourist snapping photos on September 13, shows the two-year-old German Shepherd sinking its teeth into the groundskeeper Dale Haney’s left arm
The images have emerged after reports on Monday revealed that Commander had bitten a Secret Service agent who later required medical attention
The images obtained by DailyMail.com, show the dog sinking his teeth into the arm of lanyard-wearing Haney, the superintendent of the White House grounds, in the White House gardens on September 13.
The moment was captured by a tourist in the White House gift shop who unwittingly caught the bite on camera while taking pictures of the dog.
The visitor who asked not to be named recalled: ‘I was really just wanting to take pictures of the dog, it’s the next best thing to seeing the president after all.
‘Commander was bouncing around. He seemed very lively, high spirited and playful. He’s a good-looking dog.
‘I only realized he had actually bitten the groundskeeper who was out there with him later when I saw the picture with his teeth quite clearly round the man’s wrist and arm.’
Hane, who has worked at the White House for more than 50 years often walks presidential pets on the grounds, starting with Richard Nixon’s Irish Setter King Timahoe.
A photo agency issued a picture of him walking Commander in August last year.
The attack has come to light just days after reports surfaced that the presidential pet bit a Secret Service Agent last Monday in an incident that saw the agent seek medical attention.
Visitors touring the complex had been looking on from the gift shop when the dog suddenly became aggressive
The witness, who did not want to be identified, said Commander had otherwise appeared ‘lively’ and ‘high-spirited’
Haney is now the superintendent of the White House grounds after being hired as a gardener in 1972. He is seen walking Commander on the south grounds of the White House in August 2022
At the time it was reported as the two-year-old German Shepherd’s 11th known biting incident.
Today, DailyMail.com can reveal it to be the 12th.
And while White House sources have placed blame on the president’s protectors and claimed that ‘everyone loves’ Commander who is ‘always so friendly’, the victim on this occasion was not a gun-carrying member of the president’s security detail but a groundskeeper.
The witness said: ‘Perhaps it was meant as a playful nip but that’s a big dog to be behaving like that. To me that’s a bite.’
The most serious of Commander’s attacks took place in November 2022 when an officer was hospitalized after the animal clamped down on their arms and thighs.
Emails obtained by conservative group Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that the incident was one of ten to take place in a four-month period.
It happened just one month after staff warned of the danger of attack after First Lady Jill Biden ‘couldn’t regain control’ of the animal as it charged a member of Secret Service staff.
On Monday White House staffers blamed Commander’s biting problems on the unfriendly expressions of Secret Service agents, claiming the First Dog is usually pleasant
Commander is one of three German Shepherds to have lived with the Bidens during Joe’s term
President Joe Biden had entered the White House with two German Shepherds, Champ – who died in 2021 – and Major who was removed that year
‘I believe it’s only a matter of time before an agent/officer is attacked or bit,’ the staff member warned in an email sent in October 2022.
White House officials said in July that the Bidens were working through new training and leashing protocols for the family pet following the incidents.
Speaking last week Elizabeth Alexander, communications director for the first lady, said in a statement: ‘The First Family continues to work on ways to help Commander handle the often-unpredictable nature of the White House grounds.’
The First Family’s older dog, Major – a five-year-old rescue German Shepherd from a shelter in Delaware – was removed from the White House after a string of aggressive incidents including biting Secret Service and National Park Service employees.
The Bidens eventually had Major rehoused with friends in Delaware saying that he was, by nature, a ‘sweet dog’ and citing the ‘stress’ of life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as the root of his aggression.
Commander joined the First Family in December 2021 as a birthday gift to the president from his brother Jim Biden and his wife
Haney has taken responsibility over the years for walking First Dogs. In 2009 he put a leash on Barack Obama’s Portuguese Water Dog Bo
Haney joined First Lady Jill Biden and presidential granddaughter Maisy walking Major and Champ less than three weeks into the Biden presidency
Commander, who was a birthday gift to the president from James and Sara Biden his brother and sister-in-law, first came to the White House on December 20, 2021.
But speaking to CNN last week, former USSS agent Jonathan Wackrow called the dog’s biting spree a ‘significant hazard’ that needs to be addressed.
He said: ‘There’s uniqueness here where it’s the residence of the president of the United States, but it’s also the workplace for hundreds, 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, it’s a serious issue.’
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