Secret Service Guard Dogs Vital Asset to White House

Dogs stop a man who jumped the White House fence.

By Cari Jorgensen | Posted: October 23, 2014, 2 p.m. PST

Some of the best weapons the Secret Service has are its dogs.

A man was apprehended Wednesday night after jumping a fence at the White House and subsequently being bitten by a guard dog. The bite led to retaliatory actions by the jumper, 23-year-old Dominic Adesanya. According to authorities, Adesanya punched Jordan and Hurricane, two of the guard dogs trying to stop him.

Fortunately, he was subdued quickly by K-9 units and Secret Service agents. The dogs have been taken to a veterinarian where they received treatment for minor bruising.

"Both K-9s were cleared for duty by the veterinarian,” Edwin Donovan, agency spokesman, told Washington Post via email.

He also stated that Adesanya was taken to the hospital for his dog bites. The U.S. Marshalls Service now has him in custody.

House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz believes that the K-9 unit is extremely valuable. Seeing how quickly the highly-trained dogs reacted, I don’t think anyone would disagree with him.

Secret Service guard dogs, typically Belgian Malinois, are chosen because of their intelligence, strength, agility and obedience. They can run faster than a human, which makes them ideal for assisting in stopping trespassers. And when they’re assigned White House grounds duty, that is their only duty.

"Once you release the dogs to their objective, there’s not much that can stop them,” Ralph Basham, former Secret Service director told the Washington Post. What is that objective? To "take them down, slam into them. There are certain parts of the body they are trained to attack. They are trained to stop the intruder and give the handler time to respond.”

These dogs are almost always in training, taking eight hours of refresher courses per week. They retire at age 10. And, just as with police officers and servicemen and women, when a guard dog falls on duty, he receives full honors.

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