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Small win for Grover Beach in deadly dog attack lawsuit

The family of David Fear and Betty Long filed a personal injury lawsuit against the City of Grover Beach, the police department, and former police officer Alex Geiger last year after Geiger’s dog killed Fear and severely injured Long.

Now a judge has ruled that the police department didn’t know Geiger owned the dog and was not interested in creating an in-house K-9 unit, something the city says Geiger proposed.

This ruling is a small win for the city of Grover Beach.

The lawsuit accuses the Grover Beach Police Department (GBPD) of hiring Geiger with the intent of forming a K-9 unit with Geiger’s Belgian Malinois named Neo.

The lawsuit goes on to say, “Grover Geach hired defendant Geiger as a police officer…..the Defendant Alex Geiger and Grover Beach entered into an agreement whereby Alex Geiger would procure Neo for the purpose of establishing a K-9 police force for and on behalf of Grover Beach.”

But in a November 30 ruling, a judge said, “There was no agreement with Grover Beach Police Department upon hiring Alex Geiger to be a canine officer or unit and that the Police Department had no knowledge that Alex Geiger purchased or owned the dog.”

The city’s attorney, Clayton Hall, said in a statement sent to KSBY News, “The judge’s ruling was anticipated. In essence, the city never had any interest or intention of instituting a K-9 unit. ”

Hall says Geiger proposed the idea of a creating a K-9 unit but that neither the city nor the chief entertained the idea.

Hall says the city plans to file a motion to remove it from the case.

Geiger’s dogs reportedly escaped from the backyard of the home he was renting in Grover Beach at the time and attacked Fear and Long who were neighbors.

Neo was euthanized and Geiger’s other dog was transferred out of his custody.

The Grover Beach Police Department was unable to comment at this time.

KSBY also reached out to Geiger’s attorney, the Fear family attorney and Long’s attorney for comment but has not received a response.

Geiger faces two felony counts of failing to maintain control of a deadly or dangerous animal and a felony charge of involuntary manslaughter for the December 13, 2016 attack.

The criminal trial against Geiger is scheduled to begin in January of next year.

Megan Healy

Megan Healy

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