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Dread Head Cowboy says he has no regrets about horseback protest

Defense attorney Jonathan Feldman called Adam Hollingsworth’s case a “perfect opportunity” for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office to defer prosecution.

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” exits after a hearing at the Circuit Court of Cook County at 727 E. 111th St. on the Far South Side, Wednesday morning, Sept. 30, 2020. Hollingsworth has been charged with a a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty for riding a horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway as a form of protest against kids getting shot in Chicago.
Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” exits after a hearing at the Circuit Court of Cook County at 727 E. 111th St. on the Far South Side, Wednesday morning, Sept. 30, 2020. Hollingsworth has been charged with a a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty for riding a horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway as a form of protest against kids getting shot in Chicago.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Outfitted in his iconic black boots and western hat, the Dread Head Cowboy left a Far South Side courthouse Wednesday, defiantly telling reporters he had no regrets taking his horse NuNu for an evening ride on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

“No,” a somber-looking Adam Hollingsworth simply said when asked if, in retrospect, he regretted riding into rush hour traffic to protest violence against children last week.

NuNu, a pinto-colored mare, could be seen bleeding from a foot and had wounds on its side after the miles-long ride, and Hollingsworth, 33, was charged with a felony count of animal cruelty and several misdemeanors.

At his bond hearing last week, Cook County prosecutors said NuNu will never ride again and may need to be euthanized. Since then, Hollingsworth’s “beloved horse” has been doing “extremely well,” defense attorney, Jonathan Feldman, said after the brief hearing Wednesday.

Prosecutors agreed to continue the case until the end of October, Feldman said. Hollingsworth has not yet been arraigned on the charges and has not entered a plea.

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” listens as his defense attorney Jonathan Feldman speaks to reporters after a hearing at the Circuit Court of Cook County at 727 E. 111th St. on the Far South Side, Wednesday morning, Sept. 30, 2020. Hollingsworth has been charged with a a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty for riding a horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway as a form of protest against kids getting shot in Chicago.
Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” listens as his defense attorney Jonathan Feldman speaks to reporters after a hearing at the Circuit Court of Cook County at 727 E. 111th St. on the Far South Side, Wednesday morning, Sept. 30, 2020. Hollingsworth has been charged with a a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty for riding a horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway as a form of protest against kids getting shot in Chicago.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Feldman called his client’s case a “perfect opportunity” for State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to direct her prosecutors to defer prosecution and order Hollingsworth to go through a court-ordered program.

Feldman called it “a hypocrisy” that Hollingsworth faces a felony for his alleged poor treatment of his horse, but that no such charges were filed after more than a dozen French bulldogs were found in unsanitary conditions at O’Hare Airport last month.

Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman with the state’s attorney’s office, did not comment on Hollingsworth’s pending case and added that the office was not asked to review any felony charges tied to the French bulldogs that were found at O’Hare.

Outside of court Wednesday, Feldman called on critics of Hollingsworth to work with him, saying that the cowboy’s “heart is pure.”

Hollingsworth spoke little to the media, saying that he hoped to bring awareness to his cause, “Kids Lives Matter.” He also mentioned that Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who previously worked with him to promote the U.S. Census in South and West Side wards, had turned her back on him following his arrest.

“I meant no harm,” Hollingsworth added.

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” speaks to reporters after a hearing at the Circuit Court of Cook County at 727 E. 111th St. on the Far South Side, Wednesday morning, Sept. 30, 2020. Hollingsworth has been charged with a a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty for riding a horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway as a form of protest against kids getting shot in Chicago.
Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” speaks to reporters after a hearing at the Circuit Court of Cook County at 727 E. 111th St. on the Far South Side, Wednesday morning, Sept. 30, 2020. Hollingsworth has been charged with a a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty for riding a horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway as a form of protest against kids getting shot in Chicago.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Feldman has been in close contact with officials at the city’s Animal Care and Control department but said Hollingsworth has not been able to see NuNu.

The defense attorney compared his client to Chicago-born actor Mr. T, who he urged get in contact with Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth dreams of opening a stable in the city to give jobs and training to at-risk youth, Feldman added.

As Feldman and Hollingsworth walked away, a fan of the cowboy rolled down his car window outside the courthouse parking lot and blared Little Nas X’s rap-country hit “Old Town Road” as other supporters gathered around Hollingsworth to dance and give him hugs.

Contributing: Ashlee Rezin Garcia

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” greets his supporters as he exits after a hearing at the Circuit Court of Cook County at 727 E. 111th St. on the Far South Side, Wednesday morning, Sept. 30, 2020. Hollingsworth has been charged with a a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty for riding a horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway as a form of protest against kids getting shot in Chicago.
Adam Hollingsworth, 33, otherwise known as “The Dread Head Cowboy,” greets his supporters as he exits after a hearing at the Circuit Court of Cook County at 727 E. 111th St. on the Far South Side, Wednesday morning, Sept. 30, 2020. Hollingsworth has been charged with a a felony count of aggravated animal cruelty for riding a horse on the Dan Ryan Expressway as a form of protest against kids getting shot in Chicago.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times