CHICAGO (CBS) — Bond was set at $25,000 Wednesday for Adam Hollingsworth, better known as the Dreadhead Cowboy, who stands charged with aggravated animal cruelty after he rode a horse several miles down the Dan Ryan Expressway this week.
Prosecutors said the horse will likely have to be euthanized.
On Monday afternoon, Hollingsworth got on the southbound side of the expressway on a horse named Nu Nu at 35th Street. He and his horse were surrounded by cars and motorcycles.
Hollingsworth rode with a message of, “Kids’ lives matter.” His mission was to bring awareness about violence against children.
He went live on Facebook before being arrested.
In a proffer, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said Hollingsworth rode at a trot pace at times, but reached the faster pace of a gallop for most of the ride. The horse was not equipped with shoes for the hard pavement, which caused severe bleeding and damage to the animal’s health, prosecutors said.
State police said troopers told him several times to get off the expressway, but he refused. Instead, he rode all the way to 95th Street, where he was escorted off.
Prosecutors said officers pursued Hollingsworth until the horse collapsed onto the pavement at 95th Street and Laayette Avenue. Police saw Hollingsworth kick and whip the horse to continue galloping after the horse slowed down multiple times – most likely as a result of exhaustion and injuries, prosecutors said.
Police eventually stopped Hollingsworth and he was arrested
Meanwhile, the horse was treated by the acting director of Chicago Animal Care and Control and an equine veterinarian. Both agreed the horse had suffered due to the way it was cared for and ridden, prosecutors said.
The horse was suffering from extreme dehydration, a heart rate double what is normal, lacerated front legs that caused profuse bleeding, overheating, continuous collapsing, and saddle chafing wounds, prosecutors said. The horse had not been properly saddled and did not have proper cushioning, and the animal’s eyes were “dilated to the point that they looked like cartoon eyes,” prosecutors said.
The horse was put on anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers to ease the suffering, prosecutors said. But the animal kept collapsing during treatment, prosecutors said.
Both veterinarians said if medical attention had not been rendered immediately, the horse would have died, prosecutors said. The veterinarians also said it would have been “virtually impossible” for anyone not to figure out that the horse was in distress and injured as a result of the ride.
As of Tuesday, the horse was still listed in critical condition and is never expected to be stabilized, prosecutors said. The horse cannot be ridden again and will likely have to be euthanized for humane reasons, prosecutors said.
One of the veterinarians said the treatment to which the horse was subjected on the ride was the equivalent of making an 80-year-old woman run a full marathon, prosecutors said.
In June, Hollingsworth posted a video to Facebook saying he would ride his horse until it dies, prosecutors said.
Hollingsworth’s sister, Lateshia Hollingsworth, defended her brother as she talked to CBS 2’s Vi Nguyen on Tuesday.
“He has several horses. He takes care of all of them, I have vet papers on all the horses,” Lateshia Hollingsworth said. “So he means no harm.”
State police said on Monday that Hollingsworth met with them and Chicago Police earlier this month. He told them about his plans to protest on the Dan Ryan, but they told him he couldn’t do it because it was dangerous.