Kim Hollingsworth receives suspended jail sentence for animal cruelty

Douglas Park’s Kim Hollingsworth was last week given a suspended jail sentence for animal cruelty towards horses.

The 51-year-old was convicted of eight charges in December 2017. It was also her 10th animal cruelty conviction.

The former prostitute and NSW Police trainee represented herself in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday, January 24.

The charges relate to the treatment of more than 40 horses.

RSPCA NSW inspectors visited a property in Mulgoa in late 2015 and found several horses were in poor condition, some suffering from rain scald, skin issues and cracked hooves, the animal welfare organisation said in a statement on Thursday.

Ms Hollingsworth – whose story from Kings Cross stripper to police trainee was portrayed in the Channel Nine series Underbelly: The Golden Mile – received a 12 month-suspended prison sentence, on the condition of good behaviour.

She also must not purchase, acquire, take possession or custody of any horse for two years.

RSPCA NSW was awarded custody of all horses currently in its care.

Ms Hollingsworth must also repay $139,728 in veterinary and boarding costs incurred by RSPCA NSW as a result of caring for the horses.

Magistrate Grogin convicted Ms Hollingsworth at Penrith Local Court of all offences on December 19, 2017.

“[Owners of animals have] an obligation to make sure they have a life that is free from improper treatment, neglect, or actions that cause their lives to be miserable or painful,” Magistrate Grogin said last week at sentencing.

“From the look of the horses it would have been and should have been evident to anybody that had anything to do with the horses that their conditions were far from satisfactory,” he said when handing down judgement.

During the sentence hearing last week, Magistrate Grogin heard that at the time of these offences, Ms Hollingsworth was subject to a section 9 good behaviour bond for offences of animal cruelty for her treatment of other horses in her care.

The charges included one offence of aggravated animal cruelty. The charge carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and a fine of $22,000.

Ms Hollingsworth was also sentenced as a result of two other offences including failing to provide proper and sufficient food to 18 horses, and five offences of failing to provide veterinary treatment for various illnesses, including dental disease, alopecia and skin disease, scouring (diarrhoea), lice infestation and poor body condition.

The maximum penalties for each of those offences is six months imprisonment and fines of up to $5500.

The court heard evidence during the hearing that in September 2015, following a complaint regarding horses in poor body condition, RSPCA NSW inspectors went to a property in Mulgoa and found approximately 43 horses owned by Ms Hollingsworth.

Several horses were identified as being in poor body condition, suffering from a skin condition called rain scald and cracked and overgrown hooves. 

Written instructions were provided to Ms Hollingsworth specifying the veterinary care and feeding they required.

The inspector returned on October 2, 2015 with an independent equine veterinarian to check compliance, and found several horses in varying conditions on the property.

One horse, a chestnut mare called Tara, was seized and examined by the attending veterinarian. He noted that all of her ribs were easily visible, she had no muscle coverage, no muscle on her thighs, alopecia, and a prominent sternum.

On October 4, 2015, Tara’s condition deteriorated whilst hospitalised and she was euthanised. During a post mortem she was found to be six months in foal.

“I doubt whether one has to be a vet to note what was the absolutely deplorable condition of the horse,” Magistrate Grogin said..

On October 20, 2015, during a follow-up inspection at the property, many horses had deteriorated in condition and had visible ribs, hips and vertebrae and sunken rumps.

Two horses, Frankie and Pebbles were seized due to their condition.

Whilst in RSPCA NSW care, from October 20 through to December 4, 2015, Pebbles gained 13kg and Frankie gained 33kg.

Other horses were inspected and found to be in poor body condition, had unacceptable internal parasite burdens, lice, and skin conditions.

Ms Hollingsworth has been convicted of several offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act over the past five years.