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Chicago Mayor’s ‘Census Cowboy’ Facing Animal Cruelty Charges After Nearly Riding His Horse To Death — Here’s The 411

By K. Walker

September 25, 2020 at 9:37 am

The "Dreadhead Cowboy" was riding to grab some headlines and encourage Chicagoans to fill out the 2020 Census. It didn't go so well...

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, a.k.a. the "Dreadhead Cowboy" became something of a local celebrity after he was spotted riding his horse and wearing a cowboy hat in downtown Chicago during several of the "mostly peaceful protests" in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

In July, Hollingsworth had been tasked by Mayor Lori Lightfoot to help her achieve her goal of having a 75% response rate for the 2020 Census. She called him the "Census Cowboy."

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A few days ago, Hollingsworth rode his horse, NuNu, down the Dan Ryan Expressway at a gallop for 7.5 miles during rush hour for an impromptu protest to support the #KidsLivesMatter movement -- an initiative that motivates Chicago residents to fill out the Census to receive better funding for communities.

The protest was covered as a lively story on the local news:

But it turns out, the little jaunt wasn't so great for NuNu.

Hollingsworth rode NuNu down the Expressway until the horse collapsed.

Cook County prosecutors said that the horse would not have survived without immediate treatment and may still have to be euthanized. They said that the 7.5 mile ride without proper shoes was equivalent to "forcing an 80-year-old woman run a full marathon."

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, was held on $25,000 bond during a court appearance Wednesday after he was charged with a felony count of aggravated cruelty to an animal, as well as misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct, trespassing and other traffic offenses. He must pay 10% of that amount, $2,500, to be released from jail...

...Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Deboni said the horse was ill-equipped for this ride and was run almost to death.

Hollingsworth allegedly rode the horse onto the Dan Ryan at the 35th Street feeder ramp at around 4:30 p.m. Deboni said the horse spent most of the ride galloping, but it did not have on proper shoes for the pavement, which caused bleeding and “extensive damage” to its health.

Law enforcement began trailing Hollingsworth on the expressway until the horse collapsed at around 9500 South Lafayette, Deboni said, adding that onlookers allegedly saw Hollingsworth kicking and whipping the horse to keep it galloping after it slowed down.

Source: WTTW

Experts who examined NuNu said that the horse suffered "a great deal" due to its treatment.

NuNu suffered from "extreme dehydration, overheating, and lacerations to its front legs that caused profuse bleeding." The horse required extensive medical treatment and will never be able to be ridden again.

Both experts said it would have been "virtually impossible" for anyone to not have realized the animal was injured and in distress.

Deboni said, "The horse’s eyes were dilated to the point they looked like cartoon eyes."

Euthanasia may be the only humane option because the animal will be suffering tremendously for the rest of its life.

A Change.org petition has been created to ban Hollingsworth from owning an animal ever again.

Hollingsworth conducted a very strange interview after the incident saying that he didn't regret his decision and would do it again. He doesn't think that he was any more abusive to his horse than they are at horse tracks, the circus, or on farms, and said that his protest was important.

This isn't the first time that Hollingsworth has stuck his foot in his mouth on camera. In July, the newly-minted "Census Cowboy" was spotted and filmed by a driver where he said "F*ck the police!" and "F*ck 12!"

Boy, that Mayor Lightfoot really knows how to pick a winner, doesn't she?

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by Doug Giles

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