Dog that killed Grover Beach man was police K-9
January 5, 2017
The dog that attacked and killed a 64-year-old Grover Beach man was an Exeter Police Department K-9. Grover Beach Police Officer Alex Geiger was the dog’s handler during his time with the Central Valley police department.
Geiger left Exeter to join the Grover Beach force in September. That month, Geiger purchased the Belgian Malinois named Neo from the city of Exeter for $5,287.50. Geiger brought Neo to Grover Beach as his personal pet.
On Dec. 13, Neo attacked Betty Long, 85, in front of her Grover Beach yard. Long’s neighbor, David Fear, went to assist the woman, and the Belgian Malinois turned his aggression on the Grover Beach man.
Fear lost six pints of blood as a result of the attack. The dog bites severed two arteries in his arm, and Fear developed an infection from the bites. Fear died in the hospital four days after the attack.
Long suffered a broken pelvis and broken shoulder. She is still in a rehab facility.
The Exeter Police Department said in a news release that Neo was trained and certified in narcotics detection and all areas of patrol operations.
Sources from within the department told CalCoastNews Neo had some training and behavioral issues. Despite being trained as a police K-9, the dog was never utilized in response to a call.
Geiger, 25, only served on the Exeter force for one year before joining the K-9 unit. Most law enforcement agencies require officers to work for seven years before joining the K-9 unit. Geiger previously worked as a Kings County Sheriff’s deputy in 2012 and 2013.
The Grover Beach Police Department hired Geiger as a standard police officer. Grover Beach does not have a police K-9 program.
Following the attack, Geiger turned over Neo to San Luis Obispo County Animal Services, which euthanized the dog. Animal Services completed its investigation into the incident late last month and submitted the case to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors have yet to announce whether they will file charges.
Geiger is on paid administrative leave from his Grover Beach job.