A Chicago man known as the “Census Cowboy” faces a felony charge after riding his horse more than 7 miles down a freeway without the proper footwear, severely injuring the animal, which prosecutors say may have to be euthanized.
Adam Hollingsworth, 33, was arrested earlier this week on charges linked to animal cruelty, reckless conduct, trespassing and other traffic offenses after staging a stunt on the Dan Ryan Expressway on horseback, shutting down the freeway as he rode the animal at galloping speed on rough pavement, critically wounding it.
Chicago’s ‘Dreadhead Cowboy’ arrested after riding a horse on a busy highway pic.twitter.com/1GCHP868v8
— NTV Houston (@NTV_Houston) September 22, 2020
Speaking publicly for the first time after bailing out of Cook County jail on $25,000 bond on Thursday, Hollingsworth insisted he did not mean to hurt the animal – named Nunu – and that he was merely trying to raise awareness for what he called the “Kids Lives Matter” cause. He did, however, acknowledge riding the animal for too long.
“I didn’t mean no harm on my horse at all. I’m a horse- [and] animal-loving person,” he told reporters. “My focus is Kids Lives Matter. And if a person can’t agree with that, I don’t know what to call you.”
I love Nunu… She is one of my newer horses. I’ve had her about three months and we’ve grown a bond. A bond like she’s one of my kids.
Prosecutors say that the creature was severely dehydrated, exhausted and suffering serious injuries to her hooves when she collapsed on the asphalt expressway in critical condition on Monday, after which she was brought to an animal shelter for treatment. While the shelter said Nunu’s condition is improving, authorities noted she can never be ridden again and may still have to be euthanized if she is unable to regain her ability to walk.
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Hollingsworth was skeptical about the prosecutors’ claims, suggesting they overstated the extent of the animal’s injuries in order to harm his public image. He also noted he is now seeking a private lawyer to get Nunu back, adding “they haven’t told me anything about my horse.”
Despite disputing local authorities’ account of Monday’s stunt, Hollingsworth said he would “do it again” if he had the chance. “I’ve been to jail. I’ve got a background. I’m not perfect. I would rather go to jail for something like [this],” he said. “That is something worth going to jail for.”
In wrapping up his brief presser on Thursday, the man called on Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to help him with his legal case, also appealing to Chicago-area hip hop artists for assistance, including Common, Kanye West and Chance the Rapper.
Hollingsworth has made a name for himself around Chicago, taking on the moniker “Dreadhead Cowboy” after showing up on horseback at locations around the city’s Southside. He was later dubbed the “Census Cowboy” as part of a publicity stunt arranged by Lightfoot to encourage participation in the census count, which has since been lambasted online as cringeworthy and a waste of taxpayer money.
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