Atlanta's very own ‘Urban Cowboy' and his horse could be off the streets for a while; he claims people in places of power are trying to keep him out permanently.
Brandon Fulton, also known as Cowboy Brannu the Urban Cowboy, pleaded no contest to a citation he received for a violation of humane care of his horse. He did this on the advice of his attorney.
"He told me specifically out of his mouth, ‘There's some people in high power that's against you riding these horses in the City of Atlanta,'" Fulton said.
Late last year, officials following up on a complaint found two sores on his horse and wrote the citation for violation of humane care.
Fulton took his horse to Dr. Fenton at Bethlehem Animal Clinic. According to a report dated Nov. 7, 2013, the sores were diagnosed as saddle sores; the report goes on to state saddle sores are a common problem, and are not a cause of neglect or poor care.
Fulton said the saddle that caused the sores was purchased on eBay.com for $350. He pulled the saddle out and showed us the spots where two of screws that hold the saddle together were missing.
He believes the screws caused the sores because they were loose. He has since removed the screws and is no longer using the saddle.
This was not the first time Fulton has had to deal with the state coming after him over the care of his horses.
In 2012, he was cited for abandoning a horse for leaving it in a trailer downtown. Complainers told officials it was sitting in there for hours without water. Fulton said he was gone long enough to get a haircut. That case was dismissed.
This most current citation has had a strange journey of its own. It states that he was supposed to be in court to face charges on Dec. 3, 2013.
When he showed up, he was told he wasn't scheduled to be there. He showed them the citation and they told him it wasn't in the system so he was free to go.
Fulton had the court document the fact he was at the courthouse when the citation told him to be there.
Then in January 2014, he was in court again, this time for not getting the proper permit to build a fence that would act as a corral for his horses which were being kept in the Buckhead area.
At that hearing, he was told by authorities that they wanted to pursue the 2013 citation and even though he could prove they dropped the ball, all parties agreed to a hearing on March 3.
Shortly before that hearing, PETA sent a letter to the City of Atlanta asking that Fulton be banned from owning animals if he was convicted on the citation.
At the hearing, Fulton wanted his attorney to enter a plea of not guilty, but was convinced to take a plea agreement in which he would plead nolo contendere; more commonly referred to as no contest.
By pleading no contest, Fulton neither admitted to nor disputed the charge. While technically Fulton was not found guilty, he was sentenced as if he was.
The agreement calls for Fulton to pay a $1,000 fine. Because he could not pay the money immediately, the judge placed Fulton on probation and gave him six months to come up with the money.
"For six months, I cannot ride in the city of Atlanta; I cannot own a horse in the city of Atlanta; I cannot harbor a horse in the city of Atlanta," Fulton said. "But if I pay the fine tomorrow, then I can come back to the city of Atlanta."
Fulton hopes to do that as soon as possible. He is currently stabling his horse at a co-op between Cedartown and Rockmart, in Bartow County.
"As long as I got them in my life, I don't worry about anything," said Fulton. "Without this [cowboy-lifestyle] there is no me. I don't have no place in life. I don't feel comfortable anywhere else."
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