Biden and Commander
Biden and CommanderAdam Schultz/White House

Commander Biden, US President Joe Biden’s family dog, bit US Secret Service personnel in at least 24 incidents at the White House and other locations, according to new internal USSS documents obtained by CNN.

That number does not include additional incidents CNN has previously reported involving executive residence staff and other White House workers. The new documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal the extent to which the situation had become a serious workplace issue for the hundreds of staff supporting White House operations, and how agency personnel changed their habits to avoid being injured by the German shepherd.

“The recent dog bites have challenged us to adjust our operational tactics when Commander is present – please give lots of room,” an unnamed assistant special agent in charge of USSS’ Presidential Protective Division wrote to their team in a June 2023 email, warning that agents “must be creative to ensure our own personal safety.”

CNN has reviewed more than 400 pages of documents, many of which were heavily redacted to protect USSS personnel anonymity and operational details.

In October 2022, an unnamed Secret Service technician described an incident and said they were “worried about the family pets’ behavior escalating and that … something worse was going to happen to others.”

The documented incidents included members of the Secret Service’s uniformed division, members of the president’s protective detail and other USSS officials. They took place inside and outside of the White House residence, but also at Biden family homes in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, at Camp David, and in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where the first family spends the Thanksgiving holiday.

A source close to the Biden family told CNN that the Biden family feels “awful” and has been “heartbroken” over the spate of biting incidents.

One incident occurred on October 2, 2022, when an agent was bitten on the forearm while holding the door open in the area between the West Wing and the residence – a documented incident that involved President Biden.

This agent raised workplace safety concerns, saying they were subsequently “concerned about him getting out of the residence or being out without a leash for others safety and mine.”

There was a near incident on October 26, 2022, on White House grounds. The dog “lunged to bite but missed before First Lady regained control of the leash.”

A November 2022, injury by the dog to a uniformed division officer’s right arm and right quad required treatment at a hospital.

This past October, it was reported that Commander has been involved in more biting incidents than previously reported at the White House and was not in the complex as a result.

White House officials said in July of 2023 that the Bidens were working through new training and leashing protocols for the family pet following the incidents.

Commander arrived at the White House in December of 2021.

Notably, another of Biden’s dogs, Major, was involved in biting incidents at the White House and was subsequently moved out of the White House to the Biden family home in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Bidens' beloved German Shepherd, Champ, died in June of 2021 at the age of 13. The Bidens also have a cat, named Willow, which was adopted in January of 2022.