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A former Grover Beach police officer pleaded not guilty Monday to charges stemming from a fatal dog mauling in December, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office. 

Alex Paul Geiger, 25, appeared in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Monday morning where he pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of having custody and control of a danger animal, and that he knew the animal was dangerous and failed to use ordinary care in keeping the animal. 

Monday's appearance was the second Geiger's made since he was charged.

Prosecutors allege Geiger's dogs -- a Belgian Malinois and German shepherd -- escaped from his Grover Beach home, attacking nearby neighbor Betty Long, 86, and fatally mauling another neighbor David Fear, 62, who came to Long's aid.

An initial investigation into the attack revealed the Belgian Malinois was the main aggressor and was euthanized shortly after the mauling. The German shepherd has been removed from Geiger's custody, according to county Animal Services.

The incidents reportedly occurred Dec. 13, 2016, and Fear died at the hospital a few days after the attack. Long recovered from her injuries.

Felony charges were filed against Geiger by the county District Attorney's Office early last month. If convicted, the maximum punishment he faces is three years and eight months in prison. 

Geiger resigned as a Grover Beach police officer Feb. 1. He reportedly no longer resides in the area.

April Charlton covers Santa Barbara County for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow her on Twitter@WordsDawn

 

This article originally ran on santamariatimes.com.

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