Thursday 19 September 2019

Secret service dog to be honoured for protecting White House from intruder

The canine will become the first foreign recipient of the PDSA veterinary charity’s Order of Merit award.

By Tom Horton, PA

A US Secret Service dog that was attacked by a man who was trying to reach former president Barack Obama is to be given an award.

Hurricane, a specially trained Belgian Malinois who used to guard the White House, intercepted an intruder who had scaled the residence’s fence and was heading towards Mr Obama and his family.

He will become the first foreign animal to be given veterinary charity PDSA’s Order of Merit award.

The dog’s handler Marshall Mirarchi, who worked with him for four years, said he became a “legend” within the service following the brutal attack.

In a recording of the incident, which took place in October 2014, the intruder can be seen violently swinging Hurricane around, as well as punching and kicking him.

Mr Mirarchi said: “I have never witnessed such violence towards a dog before but it didn’t stop him from doing his job.

“That night, he stepped up and delivered under circumstances that no amount of training could prepare him for.

“He loved working and his talent for the job impressed me every single day.”

Despite being attacked by the intruder, Hurricane managed to drag the man to the floor and enable armed officers to bring him into custody.

The 11-year-old dog was retired from the US Secret Service on health grounds in 2016 and Mr Mirarchi said he believes the injuries he suffered on the night of the attack contributed towards the move.

New York Times best-selling author Maria Goodavage, who nominated Hurricane for the award, said she had been “blown away” by his story when she met him while conducting research for a book.

She added: “The skill and talent of these dog teams is second to none and I am completely thrilled to see Hurricane honoured with the PDSA Order of Merit.”

The award will be presented to the dog at a ceremony in London in October.

PA Media

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