Just two months after President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden moved into the White House, their dog Major Biden was reported for biting a Secret Service agent and nipping a National Park Service employee.
Major, their 3-year-old rescue from a shelter in Delaware, was nervous and anxious upon arrival to a new home. According to CNN, he jumped, barked, and “charged” frequently. Although the President refers to him as a “sweet dog”, any bite or attack can become a liability risk.
Immediately after the first accident in March, the President’s secretary, Jen Psaki issued a statement to inform the public that Major was “still getting acclimated and accustomed to new surroundings and new people…[and] reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the [unfamiliar] individual.”
Just like any other proud American owner, the President also has a responsibility to mind his dog’s behavior. If you know that your dog has or recently developed vicious tendencies, taking precautionary measures will help to avoid serious puncture wounds that can result in pain or nerve damage.
In response to the first dog bite accident, the President and first lady sent Major back to Delaware for private training off the White House premises. The course lasted for a few weeks, to help Major control his excitement and get acclimated to living in a new environment. Unfortunately, as the youngest of Bidens’ two German shepherds, he bit again days after returning to D.C.
Dogs are essentially like a family member – beloved and innocent through one’s eyes. When they misbehave in public, the reason should not be overlooked. Had Biden not been President, and the victims pressed charges against him, he would need a lawyer for dog bite injuries to aggressively fight on his behalf.
What Does This Accident Teach Us About Dog Bites?
In an article by Politico, reporters interviewed experienced dog trainers to discuss why private training alone failed them, and alternative ways to ease a dog’s social anxiety to hopefully avoid another incident. Instructor Larry Krohn believes Major’s inability to transition easily primarily has to do with his breed.
“Unfortunately, with that kind of behavior, it’s almost always based out of fear and insecurities, and it runs rampant in the German shepherd breed, especially when it’s not a well-bred dog. And you can’t punish that out of a dog,” he explained to a Politico reporter. “You can’t treat that out of a dog. You have to change the mindset of the dog to where they feel comfortable and confident in their own skin and they trust the people around them.”
German shepherds are one of several dog breeds, with a strong tendency to act violently against others. Krohn further explains, “They’re meant to bite. And when you get one that’s not bred with really solid nerves, they’re very nervy, and they can be very fearful.
A fearful dog is a dog that’s going to bite someone in that situation, more so than a dominant dog, a strong dog. When a dog has a lot of stress and anxiety, the quickest way to make the threat [go] away is to react poorly…” he told Politico. Perhaps things would have been different if Major had been trained in the environment that he is residing in.
Preventing a Dog Attack
The individuals that fell victim to getting attacked by the First Dog, may also share liability for interacting without warning. Like people, dogs are not too keen about getting touched by strangers. Before engaging, always ask an owner if you can approach and pet their dog. Three warning signs to look out for that indicate a dog’s disapproval is:
- Backing away.
- Curling his or her lip.
- Growling when you approach.
If you or a loved one have been bitten or nipped by a dog and want to hold the negligent owner of that dog accountable, you have the right to in California. To increase your chances of reaching a maximum settlement, reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles who knows how to fight for your rights.