Former prostitute and NSW Police trainee Kim Hollingsworth has been banned from owning horses for two years and ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs after a Wollongong magistrate found her guilty of animal neglect.
Hollingsworth, whose story from Kings Cross stripper to police trainee was portrayed in the Channel Nine series Underbelly: The Golden Mile, was this week convicted of three charges relating to 27 malnourished and diseased horse seized by the RSPCA in 2014 from rented properties at Oakdale, Cobbitty and Wilton.
Veterinarians who inspected the horses found each of the animals was severely underweight due to a lack of sufficient food for at least two months.
They also discovered a litany of other medical issues including internal worms, excessively long hooves, (making it difficult to walk) and various skin conditions.
Hollingsworth contested the allegations in a lengthy court hearing, arguing she had entrusted the feeding of the horses to others who had apparently not carried out her instructions as directed.
However Magistrate Mark Douglass found Hollingsowrth guilty, saying she had ultimately been responsible for the animals.
She previously told the court the horses had been her “saviour” after suffering from post traumatic stress following her ordeal with the police force.
In sentencing proceedings conducted in Wollongong Local Court this week, Magistrate Douglass said the case against Hollingsworth had been “overwhelming” and described a series of photographs depicting the poor state of the horses as “powerful and compelling”.
“The court was disturbed by the level of suffering these horses were exposed to by the … lack of treatment and lack of care,” he said.
“[The evidence shows] there was just simply not enough feed and the horses were not fed every day.
“The causal link between poor maintenance, poor diet, poor feed and subsequent infestation was the responsibility of Ms Hollingsworth.
“There's no basis for concluding that the condition Ms Hollingsworth’s horses found themselves in had anything to do with other than her lack of sufficient care in relation to providing vet treatment and feed.”
Magistrate Douglass found Hollingsworth’s negligence was so serious he banned her from owning any horses for two years, and ordered that those still in her possession be sold or given away immediately.
He also ordered Hollingsworth pay the RSPCA $122,931 in legal fees and $484,148 to cover the cost of veterinary care, feed and boarding for the seized horses.