Secret Service letting the dogs out near White House

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WASHINGTON — Planning a visit to the White House? Bring your kids and camera. But please, don’t feed the animals.

The Secret Service says it’s started deploying specialized canine units to protect the area around the White House. Although the Secret Service has used dogs since 1976 to screen areas for presidential visits, this is the first time they’re being deployed among the general public.

The program started last month. On summer mornings, the new canines can be seen patrolling just outside the White House gates, sniffing their way through throngs of visitors, protesters and joggers.

In the past, the Secret Service exclusively used Belgian Malinois (MAL’-ehn-wah) dogs. The new program uses a variety of other breeds that have temperaments suitable for use in crowds.

JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

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