Politics & Government

White House dogs ‘cleared for duty’

Secret Service White House dog ‘Jordan’ who has returned to duty guarding the White House
Secret Service White House dog ‘Jordan’ who has returned to duty guarding the White House

A pair of Secret Service dogs injured in the line of duty when they helped to take down a man hopping over the fence at the White House have been “cleared to return to duty,” the Secret Service says.

'Hurricane' and 'Jordan' were taken to a veterinarian and treated for “minor bruising,’ spokesman Brian Leary said. News footage of the incident showed the man kicking the dogs on the North lawn of the White House.

The intruder, identified as Dominic Adesanya, 23, of Bel Air, Maryland, was charged with two felony counts of assault on a police officer -- the dogs. He was also charged with four counts of resisting/unlawful entry and one count of making threats.

Adesanya, who was unarmed at the time of his arrest and treated at a local hospital for dog bites, was in custody with the U.S. Marshall Service for previous outstanding warrants and a court date is pending.

Adesanya’s capture after vaulting the fence was a bit of good news for the agency that has been pilloried since last month when a man scaled the fence, ran across the lawn and got inside the White House. In that case, the dogs were not unleashed and fans of Hurricane and Jordan quickly suggested the doggy duo be awarded a presidential medal for their part.

“That would have made for a good photo op, wouldn’t it?” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday, asked why the two didn’t accompany him to the daily press briefing.

Earnest hailed the operation -- even as reporters noted that Adesanya nevertheless made it over the fence -- saying it “underscores the professionalism of the men and women of the Secret Service.”

As for the dogs, Earnest made it plain they’re working animals and unlikely to mix with the First Family, or its dogs, Bo and Sunny, a pair of Portuguese water dogs.

“The animals that performed so bravely last night are not something that we come into regular contact with here,” Earnest said. “I think that there's probably a good reason why these animals are kept at some remove from employees and others who frequent the grounds of the White House. I think the individual last night probably saw pretty vividly why we all keep our distance.”

Hurricane and Jordan are both Belgian Malanois, a small, short-haired breed with considerable speed and energy. The Secret Service on its website said says it began its canine program in 1975 because it was found to be the most effective way of detecting explosives.

The dogs, which the service says are “very sociable,” undergo 20 weeks of training with a handler before they begin working. After graduating from basic training, each canine retrains eight hours a week during its career. The service says the dogs stay with their uniformed division handlers 24 hours a day.

“They become members of the family,” the service said. Animal Planet notes the dogs are an “ideal watchdog and guard dog... It is protective of its home and family.”