The family of the man killed by dogs owned by a former police officer, as well as the 86-year-old woman who survived the attack, are suing the ex-policeman and the Grover Beach Police Department. The suit also names the Exeter Police Department and the former landlords of the ex-officer.
Last December, two dogs belonging to Alex Geiger, 25, chewed through a fence and attacked David Fear and Betty Long. Fear died shortly after the attack, while Long survived with a broken pelvis and a broken shoulder. Long returned home earlier this year after undergoing a shoulder replacement and spending time in a rehab facility.
The more aggressive of the two dogs was a Belgian Malinois that previously served as a police dog in the Central Valley city of Exeter and for whom Geiger was lobbying to join the Grover Beach force. San Luis Obispo County Animal Services euthanized the Belgian Malinois following the deadly attack.
On Thursday, lawyers representing Fear’s family, Long and Long’s daughter filed the lawsuit. The suit alleges Geiger should have known the Beligan Malinois was dangerous based on the dog’s training.
Fear’s family is seeking damages for lost income, funeral costs and legal fees. Long and her daughter are seeking damages for past and future medical expenses, lost income and legal fees.
At the time of the fatal incident, the Belgian Malinois, Neo, was Geiger’s personal pet. Last September, Geiger purchased Neo from the Exeter Police Department for $5,287.50 and brought it to Grover Beach. Sources from within the Exeter Police Department said Neo had some training and behavioral issues.
Shortly after Geiger moved into his Grover Beach home, his neighbors began having issues with the two dogs. Neighbors said the dogs were left unattended for long periods of time, and they would try to break through the fence while angrily barking.
Then, on the day of the attack, the dogs broke loose, ran off Geiger’s property and chased a mailman prior to mauling Fear and Long.
In a criminal case, prosecutors have charged Geiger with two counts of owning a dog trained to attack while failing to exercise ordinary care and a charge of felony involuntary manslaughter. Geiger could face up to three years and eight months in prison.