"Champ and Major, the president and first lady's dogs, are members of the family and still getting acclimated and accustomed to their new surroundings and new people," Jen Psaki said during a briefing for reporters. "And on Monday, the first family's younger dog, Major, was surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual, which was handled by the White House medical unit with no further treatment needed."
She added that plans had already been in place for the dogs to be cared for by family friends as the first lady travels to the West Coast this week.
"She has a three-day trip this week, and the dogs will return to the White House soon," Psaki said.
Asked by a reporter whether Major could be euthanized as a result of the episode, Psaki said that would not be the case.
"Major Biden is a member of the family, so I can assure you of that," she said.
Earlier Tuesday, the White House released a statement saying the dogs had been sent to Delaware that made no mention of a report about the aggressive behavior of the younger dog.
"With the First Lady traveling for three days, Champ and Major went to Delaware to stay with family friends," Michael LaRosa, a spokesman for Jill Biden, said in a statement.
CNN reported that Major had a "biting incident" with a member of the White House security staff and has been known to display agitated behavior, including jumping, barking and "charging" at staffers.
The CNN report was attributed to "two sources with knowledge" and did not include on-the-record comments from the White House.
The dogs made their debut on the White House grounds in late January.
Jill Biden is visiting military bases this week as part of her initiative to hear from military families about the challenges they face, particularly during the pandemic.
On Tuesday, she was scheduled to visit Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. Her travels will also take her to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington state and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California, according to the White House.
Published : March 10, 2021
By : The Washington Post · Sean Sullivan, John Wagner