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Dog food producer plans facility on Vulcan Street in Town of Tonawanda

The manufacturer of a “raw diet” for dogs is setting up a production facility in the Town of Tonawanda.

The Town Board on Monday night approved a special-use permit for Doggone Raw, which will make its dog food in a suite at the industrial complex at 402 Vulcan St. The town Planning Board recommended approval of the permit at its November meeting.

Councilman John A. Bargnesi Jr. asked owner Gregory Rollins to explain the company’s product.

Rollins told the board that uncooked, ground U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected meat that is 100 percent human-edible will be delivered to the facility, where it will be minimally processed with fruits and vegetables, frozen and then packaged for sale. He said his company is the only one of its kind in New York State and one of only three in the United States that use this process.

“We take human-edible ingredients,” said Rollins, a food scientist. “We don’t take any rendered products, anything that’s rejected from any USDA facilities. We take the product fresh.”

Rollins explained that a “raw diet” is ideal for a dog’s nutritional needs and far better than dry, cooked kibble, which is much harder for dogs to digest. He said the cooking process “denatures” protein, while other added sources of protein such as wheat, grain and rice are not easily absorbed by dogs.

“So while they look like they add to the protein analysis on the package, they don’t add to the nutritional profile for the dog,” said Rollins, who studied the benefits of a raw diet for his master’s thesis at Kansas State University.

Dogs that have been switched to a raw diet have had kidney diseases and skin problems cured, he said.

Rollins said he has plans for three retail stores, and also sells directly to customers via the company website,

Also Monday, the board approved the purchase of 1,000 garbage totes from Rehrig Pacific Co. for $48,000. The totes are meant to be given out as replacements for ones that are broken. The town’s garbage pickup program has used totes for 10 years, and Highway Department officials said they’re starting to receive more requests for replacements.

The town will roll out recycling totes in the summer to replace the smaller bins currently in use, Bargnesi said.