Secret Service dog falls to its death from roof of New Orleans parking deck

A Belgian Malinois, similar to this one, is one of the breeds used by the Secret Service, law enforcement agencies and military units around the world.

Story highlights

  • The dog was sweeping a parking deck near where VP Biden was speaking
  • The agency calls the death a "tragic accident"
  • The agency has been using Belgian Malinois since 1975

A Secret Service dog fell to its death Saturday night while doing a sweep of a multi-story parking deck near a hotel where Vice President Joe Biden was speaking.

The Belgian Malinois fell from the roof of the six-story deck adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans where Biden was speaking at a fundraiser for U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, reported CNN affiliate WWL.

Secret Service spokesman Max Milien told CNN the death was a "tragic accident."

The agency began its canine program in 1975 to detect explosives. It uses Belgian Malinois because they are small and have short hair -- making it easy for them to work in the heat. They are also very sociable.

Each dog and its handler has to complete 20 weeks of training before beginning work, the agency said.

When it's time for a dog to retire -- usually after about 10 years -- it is retired to its handler.

      CNN Recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.