Steve Banch didn't bother to dress up for court Friday, but at least the guy dubbed the "raunchy rancher" showed up. Too bad his attorney didn't.
Last month, Banch's trial for failing to bury animals on his Holly Township farm was on the docket, but Banch was a no show. Friday, the case was adjourned when his attorney was in another court handling a different case.
However, there was still new business for Banch. More on that later in this story.
Last spring, I investigated Steve Banch's Cow Bell Dairy after receiving calls from his neighbors that cows were dropping dead on his property.
Banch made a name for himself as a shock rocker a few years back. He may no longer be rocking, but he's still shocking.
I saw animal heads in various states of decay littering his property, animals mulling through garbage and neighbors gave me photos of pigs feasting upon carcasses of fallen cows.
I showed Banch one of the photos and asked him, "What's all this? Pigs eating the carcasses?"
"Probably, yeah," he replied. "It's good protein source, and it's good to compost and recycle anything on the farm."
Banch pled not guilty when charged with failure to bury an animal and was ordered to clean up his farm and clean up his act, but so far, Banch sure hasn't proved he's responsible enough to care for his animals.
Friday, he was arraigned on three new charges, each one involving pigs, cows and goats that have wandered into the road in front of his house. Add to that a recent arrest for driving on a suspended license and providing false information to a police officer.
Bond was set at $200 for two counts of livestock running at large and $800 on a third count.
"Do you have the bond money to post for these matters?" the judge asked Banch.
"I have someone with me that will make arrangements for it," he responded.
Regardless, the judge was not taking any chances with Banch, ordering him cuffed and locked up until he or his friend came up with the bond.
These are cases everyone, perhaps with the exception of Banch himself, want to see closed.
When Banch failed to show up for court last month, Judge Kelly Kostin issued a bench warrant for his arrest. After a few days, he turned himself in and posted a bond of more than $4,000.
Friday afternoon, according to the court, Banch's girlfriend handed over $1,200 to bail him out on the new charges relating to his animals getting loose off his property.
Now, Steve Banch is free again. Let's just hope his animals are not. They're supposed to be penned up and some of them are even in quarantine.