Former Secret Service dog wins UK award for stopping White House intruder in 2014
© Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals

A now-retired Secret Service dog became the first foreign animal to win a prestigious prize in the United Kingdom for tackling an intruder at the White House in 2014.

Hurricane, a Belgian Malinois, on Thursday was awarded the Order of Merit by British veterinary charity People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) for his “outstanding devotion to duty” while protecting former President Obama and the first family. 


The Order of Merit recognizes an “exceptional example of the special relationship between animals and humans” and is the animal equivalent to the OBE — one of the highest honors bestowed to individuals by the British royal family.

Hurricane was on duty with his handler, Officer Marshall Mirarchi, on Oct. 22, 2014, when a man jumped over the White House fence and sprinted across the lawn.

Another Secret Service canine team attempted to stop the intruder and was unsuccessful. That is when “Hurricane flew into action,” PDSA said in a statement.

The special operations canine faced a fight, being kicked, punched and swung through the air during the ensuing struggle with the intruder.

“Despite this violent, repeated assault, his jaws were locked onto the suspect’s arm and he never gave up,” the statement said. “He continued to drive forward and finally grounded the intruder, enabling armed officers to take him into custody.”

“Though severely battered, Hurricane refused to be beaten and carried out his duties faultlessly.”

The president was home with his family at the time of the incident and was unharmed because of Hurricane’s bravery.

Hurricane retired from the Secret Service for health reasons in September 2016 and was adopted by his former handler.

“Hurricane was such a legend within the Service. He loved working and his talent for the job impressed me every single day,” Mirarchi said in a statement. “That night, he stepped up and delivered under circumstances that no amount of training could prepare him for. I have never witnessed such violence toward a dog before but it didn’t stop him from doing his job.”

He added that the pair were very excited to travel to London in October to accept the award.

“Hurricane will be given the full VIP treatment, just as he deserves,” Mirarchi said.