A Chicago man who Mayor Lori Lightfoot had promoted as the "Census Cowboy" took his injured horse for a seven-mile run down the Dan Ryan Expressway on Monday. The horse, NuNu, is reported to be in critical condition and may need to be euthanized, according to CWB Chicago.
Assistant State's Attorney Kevin Deboni stated that Adam Hollingsworth's horse was not appropriately equipped with shoes when running on the pavement in a "Kids' Lives Matter" protest, severely injuring the horse's legs and feet.
The Democratic mayor's "cowboy" was lauded by the mainstream media for his "activism." NowThis took to Twitter, tweeting: "This ‘cowboy’ rode a horse down a busy highway in support of #KidsLivesMatter, a movement demanding greater investment in youth programs and other needs of children in Chicago."
Two veterinarians examined NuNu later and found that the horse had "suffered greatly, bled profusely," collapsing repeatedly during treatment, and was not properly saddled and cushioned.
Deboni said that Hollingsworth had posted a Facebook video on June 11 "saying he's going to ride his horse til it dies." The horse's heart rate was pounding at twice its normal speed, and its eyes had been dilated to the point of looking "like cartoon eyes," Deboni mentioned.
CWB Chicago reported that NuNu would have died had it not been given medical attention. Deboni shared with Cook County Judge David Navarro that NuNu “will never be deemed suitable to ride again, and euthanasia may be utilized for humane reasons due to the suffering the animal will likely endure for the rest of its life."
Hollingsworth's attorney, Emily Bock, disputed the injuries by saying that the animal was well-fed, and that saddle sores are common. Bock noted that experts disagree about whether horses need to be shod to walk on concrete.
“Your attorney referred to a protest,” Navarro said after hearing both sides from the attorneys. “The horse doesn’t know that it’s part of a protest.” Navarro said the treatment laid out by prosecutors "appears criminal" as he recounted allegations that NuNu collapsed and was beaten to get back up.
“Reference is made to the census,” Navarro told Hollingsworth. “I don’t know what any of this has to do with the promotion of the census…[it appears] more related to the promotion of yourself.”
Prosecutors charged Hollingsworth with animal cruelty, reckless conduct, trespass to state land, and traffic violations, according to CWB Chicago. Though the judge had set bail at $25,000, Hollingsworth was released a few hours later after posting a $2,500 deposit bond.