This time the Secret Service let the dogs out – and the guard dogs did their job.
On Wednesday evening, Secret Service K-9s Hurricane and Jordan corralled a man who jumped the fence at the White House. The big Belgian Malinois dogs swarmed the intruder, identified later as Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Md. They knocked him down and held him for human Secret Service agents to arrest, according to video of the incident.
In September, critics complained that the Secret Service kept their guard dogs leashed as alleged jumper Omar Gonzalez sprinted across the lawn and entered the White House. This time, agents on duty did not make that same mistake.
“Dogs got him,” said Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan on Wednesday.
To be fair, the tactical situation seemed different with the latest White House intruder. Video showed him stationary near the perimeter fence, instead of running toward the Executive Mansion.
He appeared to fight the dogs, kicking at one and struggling in their grip. They were not seriously hurt. (Nor was the intruder.) According to the Secret Service, both dogs were taken to a vet after the incident, treated for minor injuries, and cleared for a return to duty.
Most Secret Service dogs are Belgian Malinois, a big breed that resembles a German shepherd. They are used by police forces and militaries around the world due to their intelligence, power, and eagerness to work.
US Navy SEALs used a Belgian Malinois in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, for instance. The dog, Cairo, was trained to sniff for bombs and secure the compound perimeter.
The breed is “happiest with regular activity and a job to do,” according to the American Kennel Club.
The US Secret Service trains many of its Malinois to act as a missile, according to a Washington Post account of their service. They are supposed to be released seconds after a suspect is sighted, then run the suspect down, knock them over, and hold them until relieved by a human compatriot.
Their work can be hazardous. In 2013, a bomb-sniffing Malinois died in the line of duty after falling while checking out a parking garage in New Orleans prior to an expected visit by Vice President Joe Biden.
Wednesday’s fence-jumper may be fortunate the dogs were on the case. Given the intensity of recent congressional criticism, it is quite possible that the intruder would have been shot if he had eluded agents and neared the White House itself.
Mr. Adesanya has been charged with felonies for attacking the police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. His father told a local television station that his son has mental problems. The family has tried to get him mental help but has been unsuccessful.