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Grover Beach dog attacks two people, leaving one in critical condition

dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

A dog attack Tuesday in Grover Beach sent two residents to the hospital, leaving one still in critical condition Thursday.

Two dogs were found running on the 1100 block of Nacimiento Avenue about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday when police and fire officials arrived to discover a man and a woman both seriously injured in the attack, said Eric Anderson, San Luis Obispo County Animal Services manager.

The primary aggressor was determined to be a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois. The other dog, a German shepherd, did not appear to be aggressive and is being held by its owner, Anderson said.

One of the victims, David Fear, 64, remained in critical condition in Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center’s intensive care unit Thursday, hospital spokesman Ron Yukelson said. His next-door neighbor, Betty Long, 85, also was injured in the attack and was listed in fair condition in the hospital.

The Belgian Malinois was euthanized with the owner’s permission, and no arrests have been made, Anderson said.

The dogs were pets owned by a Grover Beach police officer, Anderson said, and were not city-owned animals. Grover Beach does not have a police canine program, and the dogs aren’t certified by the city in any way, he said.

Fear’s family and neighbors on Nacimiento Avenue and Owens Court said Long was attacked first while standing outside her home with a small dog. Fear was trying to help her when the dog turned on him, causing severe injuries and blood loss.

Fear’s family said his arms were badly injured during the attack and that he may lose the use of his hand as a result.

Fear may be transferred to a hospital in Fresno or Los Angeles because of the extent of his injuries, relatives said. Doctors had not determined whether a transfer to another hospital was necessary, Yukelson said, but Fear wasn’t stable enough to be moved Thursday, anyway.

Diana Smaw, Fear’s sister-in-law, described him as “very caring.”

“He was trying to save a lady’s life,” she said.

Neighbor Windy Perry said she and her husband had socialized with Fear in the past and that he was a nice man.

“It’s tragic,” she said. “I hope for the best, for his full recovery.”

On Thursday afternoon, no one appeared to be home at the Owens Court house where neighbors said the two dogs lived. Manny Vega and others living on the cul-de-sac said the dogs’ owner had only lived in the neighborhood a short time, and the pets hadn’t caused problems in the past.

Anderson said the dog owner is cooperating with Animal Services, which is the lead investigative agency, and has secured the German shepherd pending the conclusion of the investigation and a determination on that dog’s possible involvement in the attack.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27

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