GROVER BEACH, Calif. - The dog involved in a deadly Grover Beach attack was a former police K-9. The Exeter Police Department, which is the former police department of the dog's owner, Alex Geiger, confirms. Geiger partnered with the police K-9, Neo, from September 2015 to August of 2016.
Neo became certified in narcotics detection in November 2015 and certified in all areas of patrol operations in December 2015. Those certifications take place once a year and Neo also was given 16 hours of maintenance training per month. Geiger and Neo were a Certified K-9 team and maintained all expected standards, according to the Exeter Police Department.
When Geiger accepted a job with the Grover Beach Police Department in August 2016, the Exeter Police Department allowed Geiger to purchase the dog from the department for $5,287.50 because the partners had grown a bond together. The Exeter Police Department says purchasing your K-9 partner from the police department once you leave is not an unusual practice.
Neo was not associated with the Grover Beach Police Department and was a personal dog of Geiger.
64-year-old David Fear, the man who intervened when the loose dog attacked an 85-year-old woman, died from his injuries three days after the vicious attack. Fear had been in critical condition at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.
The aggressor dog, a 2 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois, was euthanized. Geiger is on paid administrative leave with the Grover Beach Police Department.
SLO County Animal Services has finished their investigation and handed it off to the DA's Office for them to decide if there will be criminal charges against Geiger. If the DA's office moves forward with charges, Geiger could face up to three years in jail.
The Santa Maria Police Department shared with us what goes into training a police K-9.
"The handlers use them to protect the life and safety of other officers and members of the community, they're a great asset, a great tool," Santa Maria Police Sgt. Russell Mengel said. "The dogs react to behavior and that's why we have such intense training for these animals."