South Island's top greyhound trainer disqualified for 12 months over animal welfare concerns

The South Island's leading greyhound trainer has been disqualified for 12 months.

It followed Darfield trainer John McInerney pleading guilty after one of his dogs tested positive for methamphetamine and another was mistreated.

One property near Ōtautahi Christchurch known as 'Homebush Hounds' has consistently produced winning greyhounds.

They've netted trainer John McInerney millions over the years. 

But today that golden streak crashed to a new career low - he's been disqualified for 12 months. 

"It's a massive fall from grace and it says a lot about the industry when you've got essentially one of the star players, who's now been disqualified," said Will Appelbe, investigations manager at SAFE.

It was McInerny's dog Alpha Riley that tested positive for meth during an audit by Racing Integrity investigators at McInerney's North Island kennel where his son worked.

His son was also tested.

He and the vehicle he used to transport dogs - also tested positive. 

And another dog, Impressive Isla, suffered in pain for days before an X-ray was sought.

Impressive Isla had cancer and was immediately euthanised. 

The Racing Integrity Board adjudicators noted in today's decision that "holding a licence is a privilege and not a right" and that it was an aggravating factor that McInerney had previously been charged with animal welfare offending.

Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) told Newshub "there is no place in our industry for those who breach animal welfare standards".

The disqualification comes as a contractor who visited the McInerney's Darfeild property last year says he was horrified by what he saw. 

"Pretty filthy is an understatement. It was horrendous. It was vile," the contractor told Newshub.

He says on arrival he was confronted by a fly-blown abattoir where meat was being cut up and ground into buckets.

Rules dictate food preparation sites and containers must be sanitary. 

"Was the area you saw clean and hygienic?" Newshub asked the contractor.

"Absolutely not," he replied.

However, McInerney denied any wrongdoing, telling Newshub "we have met all compliance standards and passed all audits".

GRNZ confirmed there were no welfare charges or outstanding issues from the audits.