David Fear was a true hero when he protected woman during dog attack
BY THE TRIBUNE EDITORIAL BOARD
The word “hero” is often used loosely these days. It’s applied to stellar athletes, to off-beat adventure seekers, to fictional characters with superpowers.
There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as we never forget to honor the true heroes among us — those who distinguish themselves not by playing football or scaling mountains, but through selfless acts of bravery.
It’s a select group, to which Grover Beach resident David Fear clearly belongs. Fear, 64, lost his life last week after protecting Betty Long, his 85-year-old neighbor, from a dog attack.
Long was walking her small dog when, according to witnesses, she was attacked by two large dogs, a Belgian Malinois and a German shepherd, running loose in her Grover Beach neighborhood.
Fear came to her aid, at which point he was attacked, suffering severe injuries and blood loss. He died later at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. Long sustained a broken pelvis and shoulder and will require four to six weeks of treatment, according to her family.
The Belgian Malinois, identified as the main aggressor in the attack, was euthanized; the other dog has been quarantined.
Mourners honor dog attack victim David Fear at rainy vigil in Grover Beach
Tiny pinpricks of light glowed through the bitter, pounding rain on a dark corner of a Grover Beach neighborhood Friday evening.
The candles were held by almost 100 people, who despite the downpour had chosen to gather together and remember a man they call a hero.
David Fear, 64, died Dec. 16 from injuries he sustained three days earlier when he jumped in to protect his elderly neighbor, Betty Long, as she was being attacked by dogs in their Grover Beach neighborhood.
On Thursday, Grover Beach officials said the dogs — a Belgian Malinois and a German shepherd — were owned by Grover Beach police officer Alex Geiger as pets. The Malinois was determined to be the primary aggressor and was euthanized; the other dog remains quarantined while San Luis Obispo County Animal Services completes its investigation and forwards its findings to the county District Attorney’s Office.
Long suffered a broken pelvis and shoulder and is now undergoing rehabilitation to relearn how to walk, relatives said.
Former Grover Beach officer charged with felonies in deadly dog attack
A former Grover Beach police officer could face about four years in prison after prosecutors filed two felony charges Thursday, seven weeks after his personal police-trained dog attacked two neighbors, killing one of them.
Alex Geiger, who was hired as an officer with the Grover Beach Police Department in September, was charged with two counts of failing to maintain control of a dangerous animal, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Dan Dow said the criminal complaint alleges Geiger had “custody and control of a dangerous animal,” that “he knew that the animal was dangerous” and that Geiger “failed to use ordinary care in keeping the animal.”
An arrest warrant has been requested for Geiger, and a court hearing will be scheduled after he is booked into County Jail. If convicted, Geiger faces a maximum of three years and eight months in prison.
Geiger resigned from the police department Wednesday, Grover Beach City Manager Matthew Bronson said in a statement Thursday.
“The city continues to express its condolences to the family of Mr. Fear and wishes Ms. Betty Long a speedy recovery,” Bronson’s statement reads, referring to the woman injured in the attack and her neighbor, David Fear.
On Dec. 13, Geiger’s dog — a 2 1/2 -year-old Belgian Malinois named Neo — got loose and attacked 85-year-old Long as she walked her dog on the 1100 block of Nacimiento Avenue in Grover Beach. Fear came to Long’s aid and also was attacked. Fear, 64, died of his injuries three days later.
Neo was euthanized the afternoon of the attack. A second dog, a German shepherd also owned by Geiger, was determined not to have been an aggressor in the attack.
A Tribune investigation found that Geiger was hired by the city of Grover Beach following a year as a provisional deputy with the Kings County Sheriff’s Office and a two-year stint at the Exeter Police Department in Tulare County, where he served first as a provisional officer and later as a K-9 officer. While in Exeter, Geiger trained and conducted patrol operations with Neo for about a year before taking the job in Grover Beach.
Records obtained by The Tribune show that Neo once bit a trainer during an exercise, but the bite was not serious enough to take the dog out of service. Exeter officials have declined to comment on the dog’s training or service.
Geiger purchased the dog from Exeter for about $5,300 and signed a waiver of liability, protecting that city in case of injury caused by the fully trained police dog, Matthew Pierce, Exeter’s deputy city attorney, previously told The Tribune.
A month after Geiger was hired in Grover Beach, he lobbied police Chief John Peters to start a K-9 unit. Peters previously said a K-9 unit was one of several things the department was exploring at the time, but he noted that it was never approved and that the department had “no interest” in Neo as a K-9 officer.
Family of Grover Beach dog attack victim plans to seek justice
Posted: Dec 19, 2016 11:05 PM CSTUpdated: Dec 20, 2016 12:40 PM CST – By Angel Russell
A memorial is set up in a Grover Beach neighborhood where a man was attacked by a dog and later died.
“There’s probably not one person on this block that doesn’t know David, doesn’t know what happened and thinks that it’s just tragic,” said Dian Magnie, friend and neighbor of David Fear.
Last Tuesday, at least one dog attacked two Grover Beach neighbors on the 1100 block of Nacimiento Avenue. David Fear died over the weekend. He was 64. A second victim, 85-year-old Betty Long, is still recovering.
Two dogs were discovered to have escaped: a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois and a German Shepherd. The dog believed to be the aggressor, the Belgian Malinois, was euthanized. The other dog is being quarantined.
San Luis Obispo County Animal Services says the dogs belonged to a Grover Beach police officer but the animals were not K-9 officers. The Grover Beach Police Department has placed the officer on paid administrative leave. The department did not release the officer’s name. Animal Services has said the officer’s name is not being released because no charges have been filed.
Flowers, candles and notes have now been placed at the end of Nacimiento Avenue.
2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Former Officer Charged with Felonies After his ‘Personal’ K-9 Killed a Man and Injured a Woman
The attacking Dog, a Belgian Malinois, Was a Dual-Certified Police K-9
Where Does Liability Fall?
First and foremost the liability of the mauling death of David Fear and injuries suffered by Betty Long falls squarely onto the shoulders of Alex Geiger — in this case having both civil and criminal consequences. We applaud the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office for filing two felony counts against former officer Geiger. We hope that a jury of peers convicts. Beyond Geiger, the legal liability question remains murky and will take an excellent legal team to make distinct.
The question the public should consider is: 1.) Why is it okay for cities to absolve themselves of liability through a paper “waiver” after handing off attack-trained police K-9s to officers (or other individuals) after the dogs fail training, retire or in this case when the K-9 officer resigns? As we have emphasized before, these are extremely serious animals, not only trained in damaging bite work (See recent “Bite and Hold” Ninth Circuit ruling), but can also scale fences and walls.
POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG BREEDS
This is a list of dog breeds that have a history of being potentially dangerous to people, especially children. Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education and Awareness understands that any dog has the ability to bite or inflict serious harm to humans. This list consists of several dog breeds that have a higher than average number of recorded human fatalities. Please use extreme caution if you choose to bring one of these breeds into your home. Rental communities and homeowners insurance may restrict many of the dog breeds on this list due to the likelihood of a serious incident.
Pit Bulls, Mastiff, and Rottweiler lead in fatalities and are listed first. The rest of the breeds are listed in alphabetical order:
Pit Bull Terrier Family
- American Bulldog
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- English/Standard Bull Terrier
- Miniature Bull Terrier
- Olde English Bulldog
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Cane Corso/Italian Mastiff
- Dogo Argentino
- English Mastiff
- Fila Brasileiro
- Dogue de Bordeaux/French Mastiff
- Great Dane/German Mastiff
- Presa Canario
- St. Bernard/Alpine Mastiff
Tyler Trammell-Huston (9) – Linda, CA – Killed By Sister’s 3 Pit Bulls After She Left Him Alone With The Dogs (1/3/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/01/tyler-trammell-huston-fatal-pit-bull-attack-linda-ca/
Payton Sawyers (1) – Independence, VA – Killed By Pit Bull-Mix While Under Care Of Babysitters (1/8/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/01/payton-sawyers-independence-virginia-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Talen Nathan West (7) – Lumberton, NC – Killed By Neighbor’s Pit Bull While Playing In The Woods With His Brother (1/24/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/01/talen-nathan-west-lumberton-north-carolina-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Aiden Grim-Morelli (3 days) – Youngstown, OH – Killed By Family “Mix-breed Shepherd” When Left In A Laundry Basket (2/8/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/02/aiden-grim-morelli-youngstown-ohio-shepherd-death/
Suzanne Story (36) – Hertford, NC – Killed By A Pit Bull-Mix She Adopted 2 Weeks Earlier (2/10/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/02/suzanne-story-hertford-north-carolina-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Gladys Alexander (92) – Olympia, WA – Killed By Her Neighbor’s 4 Pit Bull-Mixes While Delivering Newspaper (3/8/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/03/gladys-alexander-olympia-wa-pit-bull-mix-fatal-dog-attack/
Bessie Flowers (86) – Charlotte, NC – Killed By Her Daughter’s 2 Pit Bulls While Visiting (3/28/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/03/bessie-flowers-charlotte-north-carolina-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Sonda Dyan Tyson (66) – Leesburg, FL – Killed By Her Own Pit Bull-Bullmastiff mix (3/31/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/03/sonda-dyan-tyson-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Valente Lopez Aguirre (58) – Fresno County, CA – Killed By Pack Of Dogs (4/14/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/04/valente-lopez-aguirre-fresno-county-ca-robert-simonian/
Sebastian Caban (3 days) – San Diego, CA – Killed By The Family Pit Bull-Mix While Lying In Bed With His Parents (4/21/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/04/sebastian-caban-san-diego-ca-fatal-pit-bull-attack-mira-mesa/
Manuel Mejia (49) – Homestead, FL – Killed By 1 Pit Bull Type & 9 Belgian Malinois-Bulldog Mixes While Farming (4/24/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/04/manuel-mejia-homestead-florida-fatal-dog-attack-2016/
Adonis Reddick (45) – St. Louis County, MO – Killed By His Own Pit Bull (5/9/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/05/adonis-reddick-st-louis-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Antoinette Brown (52) – Dallas, TX – Killed By A Pack Of 4 Pit Bull-Mixes, Rottweiler, Shepherd & Doberman-Mixes (5/9/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/05/antoinette-brown-dallas-texas-fatal-dog-attack/
Earl Stephens Jr. (43) – Stockton, CA – Killed By 3 Pit Bulls While Visiting A Friend – (6/4/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/06/earl-stephens-jr-stockton-ca-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Hunter Bragg (7) – Corinna, ME – Killed By A Pit Bull While Playing In Father’s Yard (6/4/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/06/hunter-bragg-corinna-maine-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Erin McCleskey (36) – Manor, TX – Killed By Pack Of Dogs While Serving Papers (6/15/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/06/erin-mccleskey-36-manor-texas-dog-bite-related-fatality/
Jocelyn Winfrey (53) – New Haven, CT – Killed By 2 Pit Bull Type Dogs While Visiting Friend (6/27/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/06/jocelyn-winfrey-hamilton-hicks-new-haven-ct-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Susie Kirby (3-days) – Fresno, CA – Killed By The Family’s 2 Pit Bull/Shar Pei Mixes (6/27/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/06/susie-kirby-fresno-california-fatal-pit-bull-shar-pei-dog-attack/
Kayden Begay (3) – Navajo Nation Reservation, AZ – Killed By The Neighbor’s 5 Pit Bulls (7/14/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/07/kayden-begay-navajo-nation-reservation-az-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Elizabeth Rivera (71) – Detroit, MI – Killed By Her Daughter’s 4 Pit Bulls (7/16/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/07/elizabeth-rivera-detroit-michigan-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Crisencio Aliado (52) – Honolulu, HI – Killed By 2 Loose Pit Bull-Mixes (7/29/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/07/crisencio-aliado-honolulu-hawaii-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Michelle Wilcox (30) – Screven County, Georgia – Killed By Her Boyfriend’s Pit Bull While Visiting (8/1/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/08/michelle-wilcox-screven-county-georgia-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Derion Stevenson (9) – Las Vegas, NV – Killed By Pit Bull-Mix While Visiting Friend (8/17/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/08/derion-stevenson-las-vegas-nevada-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Michael Downing (83) – Jacksonville, FL – Killed By Rottweiler & 3 Mixed-Breeds While Taking Out Trash (8/19/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/08/michael-downing-jacksonville-florida-fatal-dog-attack/
Susan Shawl (60) – Conifer, CO – Killed By Her Son’s 2 Family Pit Bulls (8/29/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/08/richard-susan-shawl-conifer-colorado-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Baby Jane Doe (6-days) – College Station, TX – Killed By Breed Unknown (9/1/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/09/baby-jane-doe-college-station-texas-fatal-dog-attack/
Piper Dunbar (2) – Topeka, KS – Killed By Family Friend’s 2 Pit Bulls (9/24/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/09/piper-dunbar-topeka-kansas-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Kiyana McNeal (4) – Sherman Township, MI – Killed By A Doberman-Mix Within An Hour Of Adopting (10/23/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/10/kiyana-mcneal-sherman-township-dog-doberman-fatal-attack/
Daisie Bradshaw (68) – New York City, NY – Killed By Her Daughter’s 2 Pit Bull-Mixes (10/25/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/10/daisie-bradshaw-68-staten-island-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
Isaiah Jacob Franklin (6) – Huntington, WV – Killed By The Family Pit Bull (12/2/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/12/isaiah-jacob-franklin-huntington-west-virginia-fatal-pit-bull-attack/
David Fear (64) – Grover Beach, CA – Killed By Neighbor’s Police K9 (12/16/16) https://www.daxtonsfriends.com/2016/12/david-fear-grover-beach-california-fatal-dog-attack/