Secret Service Dog Falls, Dies; First K-9 Casualty In Group’s History

By iScienceTimes Staff on January 28, 2013 9:50 AM EST

Secret Service Dog Falls, Dies
A Belgian Malinois, like the one pictured here, was doing security work on Saturday when it fell from a roof and died. (Photo: Wikipedia)

A secret service dog fell and died after a tumble off a parking garage roof in New Orleans while doing a security check for a nearby appearance by Vice President Joe Biden. The secret service dog fell and died from six stories up while searching for explosives next to the Ritz-Carlton where Biden was giving an endorsement speech for Sen. Mary Landrieu. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien told CNN the death was a "tragic accident."

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The secret service dog that fell and died was a Belgian Malinois, a breed that is "intelligent and trainable, [and] possesses a strong desire to work and is happiest with regular activity and a job to do," according to the American Kennel Club.  The breed's short hair and light coat make them excellent for security detail, as they do not overheat easily and can remain in the sun for long periods of time.

The Secret Service have been using dogs to search for explosives since 1975, and each dog and its handler must undergo 20 weeks of training before entering the field. After that, each dog is re-trained eight hours a week until its term of service ends, typically about 7-11 years. Secret Service dogs live with their handlers once they retire, as well as while they are active.

The secret service dog that fell and died was likely dead on impact, but that didn't stop Secret Service personnel from treating it as one of their own, giving the K-9 a full security motorcade as it was rushed to a Metairie veterinary hospital. An agency spokesperson told the Daily Mail that the secret service dog that fell and died is the first such casualty in the agency's history.

For more information on Secret Service dogs and their duties watch the following video.

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