America’s First Dogs – Champ, 13, and Major, 3 – have been removed from their new D.C. digs and exiled to Delaware following Major’s involvement in a “minor” bite incident, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who fielded reporters’ questions for the canines on Tuesday afternoon.
The story was first reported by CNN on Monday.
Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s spokesman, who has also been fielding questions on the dogs’ behalf, told reporters this morning that the dogs are back in Delaware, but their stay is temporary — while the first lady is traveling.
According to CNN’s reporting, the decision to move the dogs was prompted by a bite incident involving Major, the younger First Dog whose “Indoguration” was hailed by pet adoption advocates, proud to celebrate the first shelter dog to live in The White House. Details about Major’s history are thin and the name(s) of the individual(s) Major bit at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have not been released.
Major was adopted by President Biden in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association.
During the White House press briefing Tuesday afternoon, press secretary Jen Psaki doubled down on the first lady’s spokesman’s statements that the dogs’ exile to Delaware was temporary and pre-planned. “It had been previously planned already for the dogs to be cared for by family friends in Delaware during Dr. Biden’s travels to military bases this week,” Ms. Psaki said at the briefing. “She has a three-day trip this week, and the dogs will return to the White House soon,” she added.
Asked for details about the incident in the CNN report, Psaki began by saying that the dogs “are still getting acclimated and accustomed to their new surroundings and new people.” The 3-year-old German shepherd, Psaki said, was “surprised by an unfamiliar person, and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual.”
TCR has reached out to Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s spokesman, as well as the Delaware Humane Association for additional details, including what if any history of fearful or aggressive behavior is known about the dog.