Three escapees who spent a week on the lam really got the goat of police, who finally succeeded in rounding them up on Friday.
During that week, Northeastern Regional Police got numerous calls from good Samaritans about the three escaped goats. Each time, officers responded and tried in vain to capture them, Sgt. Arthur Archambeault said.
The goats belong to a man who lives on Hillview Drive in the Starview area of East Manchester Township, but that man is in prison, the sergeant said. A caretaker was supposed to watching the goats but apparently didn't watch them closely enough.
"I'm still trying to piece this together," the sergeant said.
Weeklong chase: The 911 calls about the loose goats first started on Dec. 21, Archambeault said. Quite a few calls, in fact.
"The goats were roaming around a 3- to 5-mile radius (of their home)," including parts of Manchester Borough, he said.
Officers would try to catch the goats -- which are friendly -- but it wasn't easy. Mostly the officers had to worry about stopping and warning traffic, because the goats were running across roads willy-nilly, Archambeault said.
And while the sergeant said he understands the idea of officers running after three freedom-loving farm animals might seem cute to some people, it decidedly was not funny to him.
"I was really concerned there was going to be an accident," and that people might get hurt, he said.
'Last resort': After days had gone by and the goats remained fugitives, Northeastern Regional Police discussed whether they'd have to put the animals down in the interest of public safety, Archambeault said.
"That was a last resort," he said.
Thankfully, it never came to that. On Friday afternoon, Archambeault and other officers responded to the area of North Sherman Street and Poplar Lane, where the goats were running across the road.
Three or four officers, along with three neighbors and an employee of Ellis Wildlife Control, managed to herd the wayward goats onto a nearby front porch, Archambeault said.
Got 'em: "Then we lassoed them," he said, and put them into the back of a neighbor woman's Subaru Forester.
That neighbor stayed in the back with the goats while Northeastern Regional Police Chief Bryan Rizzo drove her Forester to the York County SPCA shelter in Emigsville.
"They were actually really good in the vehicle," and left the SUV's upholstery uneaten, Archambeault said. "She kept them calm."
The sergeant said it's possible two more goats are still missing, but it's just as likely only three were ever on the run.
"I've been in law enforcement almost 16 years and never had to corral a goat before," he said.
Goats safe, secure: The goats will stay at the SPCA shelter until it's determined whether the owner wants them back, or whether he can find someone to care for them, according to Todd Hevner, the shelter's operations manager.
"We've had lambs, we've had pot-bellied pigs," he said. "But it's the first time we've had goats ... since I've been here."
If the goats should become available for adoption, they would be moved to a local farm until adopted, Hevner said.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.