An elderly man afraid his three dogs were being permanently taken from him caused a brief standoff at his Spring Garden Township home on Thursday afternoon, police said.
The 72-year-old man surrendered peacefully about a half-hour after police arrived, according to township Police Chief George Swartz.
The man, whose name was not released, was being taken to York Hospital to be committed for possible mental-health issues, Swartz said.
It started about 12:50 p.m. at the man's home in the 600 block of Richland Avenue when Nicole Boyer, humane police officer for the York County SPCA, tried to pick up the three dogs.
According to Swartz, the SPCA and the York Area Agency on Aging had made a plan with the man that the SPCA would care for his dogs until he could find a new home.
Demolition: That's because his current home is slated to be torn down very soon, according to Swartz, who said property owner Joe Darrah intends to expand his salvage business there.
But either there was a misunderstanding or the man had a change of heart, because when Boyer showed up Thursday to pick up the dogs as planned, the man became afraid she was taking them from him for good, Swartz said.
"He's very attached to his animals," the chief said.
The man threatened Boyer and an Agency on Aging caseworker, telling them he had a gun, according to Swartz.
Officers arrived, but the man initially refused to answer his phone and door, Swartz said.
Peaceful: After about a half-hour, he agreed to speak with the police chief by phone.
"I was able to convince him to come out," Swartz said, and the man surrendered peacefully.
That portion of Richland Avenue was closed for about an hour.
The Agency on Aging has been working with the man for the past two or three months, to help him find a new home, the chief said.
Swartz said police have not yet determined whether they will file charges against the man.
"After a period of time he did cooperate," Swartz noted.
He said officers would search the home for firearms and seize any they found.
Melissa Smith, executive director of the York County SPCA, said the man's three dogs -- all older adult shar pei mixes -- are now in the SPCA's SafePet program, set up to care for pets of people left temporarily and unexpectedly homeless.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.