The White House’s two first dogs are in disgrace, sent to the doghouse in Delaware after an ugly incident in which one bit a staff member.
Major and Champ, two German shepherd rescue dogs who belong to US President Joe Biden, have been banished from the presidential residence after what has been described as a “biting incident” with a member of White House security.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Tuesday (US time) that three-year-old Major had injured an unnamed staffer.
“[Champ and Major] are still getting acclimated and accustomed to their surroundings and new people,” Ms Psaki said.
“On Monday [last week], the first family’s younger dog, Major, was surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual.”
The injury, which has not been further detailed, was handled by the White House medical unit.
But it was enough to have Major and big brother Champ sent back to the Biden family home in Delaware – although their banishment appears to be temporary.
According to CNN, Major has also been agitated in other circumstances, sometimes jumping, barking, and “charging” at staff and security.
Champ, who is 13, is rather calmer. The Bidens adopted Major, who is a rescue dog, in 2018 as a companion for Champ – so if one went, the other had to as well.
“We asked the vet, ‘What can we do to keep Champ going?’ and he said, ‘Get him a young dog.’ They’re buddies,” Mr Biden told the media in February while walking the two German shepherds on the White House North Lawn.
The first dogs moved into the White House in January, less than a week after Mr Biden’s inauguration.
Their arrival was seen as something of a milestone. Former president Donald Trump was the first US leader in a century not to have pets.
First lady Jill Biden has reported spending a lot of time getting the dogs settled. They’ve been allowed to treat the official residence as their home, and given free run – except for on the furniture.
It’s not the first time Major has been in trouble. In November, Mr Biden injured his ankle while playing with the dog, spending several weeks in an ankle boot because of hairline fractures.
“I’m walking through this little alleyway to get to the bedroom, and I grabbed the ball like this and he ran. And I’m joking, running after him and grab his tail,” Mr Biden said.
“What happened was that he slid on a throw rug, and I tripped on the rug he slid on.”
On Tuesday, Ms Psaki said the dogs’ trip to Delaware was “previously planned”, and they were being looked after by Biden family friends. She would not say when they would return – only that it would be “soon”.