Master and Commander: What is the Liability for President Biden in the Latest Dog Attacks

Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

We previously discussed the controversy over President Biden’s prior German shepherd, Major, biting people at the White House. Now it appears that Major’s replacement, Commander, has continued to nosh on Secret Service agents. The question is not the responsibility of Commander but his master in this pattern of dog attacks.

In the prior dog attacks, President Biden effectively called an agent a liar in allegations of being attacked in the White House. Major was eventually sent to the farm and the media, again, did not press the White House on the lack of transparency over the long pattern of dog attacks.

Major was then replaced by another photo-ready dog, Commander. These dogs are not only featured often in home shots of the Bidens, they actually warranted Christmas stockings over Navy, the granddaughter that Joe and Jill Biden refuse to acknowledge. It turns out the vicious dog is undeniably a Biden but not their granddaughter.

What is striking is the response of the White House. Elizabeth Alexander, who serves as communications director for the first lady, blamed the “unique and often stressful environment for family pets.” White House Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre repeated that defense that Commander was simply dealing with the stress of office.

John Adams even had a dog named “Satan” who did not have the record of the Biden dogs.

There were presidential dogs with bad demeanors, but they were quickly removed. For example, Carter’s Border collie Grits just snapped at a couple visitors and was sent back to Amy Carter to avoid any problems.

Under the common law, the Bidens could claim that Major and Commander were entitled to “one free bite.” They are well beyond that threshold.

The “one free bite rule” is a commonly misunderstood torts doctrine — suggesting that you are not subject to strict liability until after the first time your dog bites someone. In fact, you are subject to strict liability whenever you know or have reason to know of the vicious propensity of your animal. That can be satisfied by conduct such as frequent snapping or aggressive behavior.

However, even with Major, the Bidens failed to protect agents and others. Now they have shown the same failure with Commander.

Indeed, a family with this history of dog attacks (with successive pets) would face a highly skeptical, if not hostile, court in a tort action.

The Biden case is more analogous to  the infamous case from San Francisco involving lawyers and dog owners Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel. They were found both criminally and civilly liable after their two Presa Canario dogs killed apartment neighbor Diane Whipple. Various neighbors complained about the dogs. The dogs had not bitten anyone but were known to be aggressive. That was sufficient.

In one account involving Commander, an agent had to defend himself from the dog with a chair. That was after prior biting incidents. As many as ten people were either bitten or threatened by the dog.

In other words, the Bidens would likely be viewed as knowing the vicious propensity of Commander and subject to strict liability. They showed a pattern of knowledge and a lack of precautions not just with regard to this dog but all of their dogs.

For Secret Service agents, one could understand if they felt that they were high-priced chew toys for the Biden pets.

51 thoughts on “Master and Commander: What is the Liability for President Biden in the Latest Dog Attacks”

  1. Does the same liability accrue to their Son Hunter’s misconduct? Perhaps that is the motive behind the utter untrue and equally ridiculous denial of Daddy even having never spoken to Hunter about all those Milions of dollars.

  2. Buddy of mine had to put his collie down when it bit a woman who, without permission, walked through his property. I guess rules are only for little people.

  3. Mr. Turley, while I love your analysis on a daily basis, you missed the point here. Since the Secret Service Agents are employees of the Federal Goverment, and President Biden is the Chief Executive of the Federal Government, the agents would be barred from suing their employer for injuries sustained in conjunction with being bitten by the Biden’s dog. There benefits would be limited to workers compensation benefits. The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) provides coverage to federal civilian employees who have sustained work-related injuries or disease by providing appropriate monetary and medical benefits and help in returning to work.

  4. Where do the Bidens get these dogs? If they must have high-end GSDs with supposedly top-tier pedigrees, there might be inbreeding issues. Also, it is my understanding that the “one bite” rule we learned in law school was modified: the court now looks at the circumstances, e.g., was the dog being abused, teased, taunted, kept in poor conditions, protecting a family member (a pack member)? (Although, regarding dogs in stressful conditions, it is amazing how many dogs, when the humane officers or humane society volunteers arrive, know they are being rescued and greet them with wagging tails, however horrid the conditions in which they are living.)

    Seems to me a humane muzzle when persons other than the dog’s family are around, or other simple safety protocols, would solve the problem. Years ago I had a big male dog who hated other big males of any species. So, I kept him restrained when they were near. No problems. Or is that too logical?

  5. The Biden’s seem to have a lot more trouble with bipedal family member obedience training…

  6. I wouldn’t leave my dog alone with any Biden. I suspect Joe is as aggressive a cretin at home as he is on the Senate floor. Old Joe probably shares his c*c**ne with his poor dogs. Dogs behave this way when their owners are creeps and don’t treat them right.

  7. My question is why is it that the Biden’s repeatedly end up with overly aggressive dogs.

    The “stress” of the whitehouse works ONCE. Most presidents have had dogs, and most do not bite people.

    Most people who own dogs – have dogs that do not bite people.

    Joe Biden needs to hire Ceasar Milan.

    1. Easy answer: Biden is no alpha. Even his dogs know he’s incapable of leading a pack.

  8. Biden probably screams at the secret service agent “what did you do!!!” as his arm and legs are bleeding and commander has blood all over his chops –
    Then the SS agent says your ____ dog attacked me!
    Biden says ” you’re a liar ! Dog faced pony soldier – wanna go outside and uh, and uh… do some pushups ?!”
    None of that is a joke

    1. Dog faced pony soldier…whatever he meant was funny but this is serious. Because dogs are loyally serious. Not rational. To me this demonstrates that Biden and the secret service are not on the same side. That’s problematic. For we the people. Perhaps our secret service is just really the swiss guard….having the EU have taken our capitol in april 2008 with their expansion? and all those rumors are true? Or our secret service are still as patriotic as the come…..and bidets dogs don’t agree. Whatever the reasons in rationale thought…..the fact one guys dogs keep biting his security……one ought to ask if they are really security? And if so are security loyal to the master? And of course ask the corrollaries.

  9. Please look at the bright side of this story. At least none the Secret Service agents uttered the name “Rosebud” within earshot of the German shepherd.

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