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Area business doing its part to help Greene County K-9 units

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mister Buck's employee Ben Robinson, Linton Police Department officer Tom Jerrels and his K-9 Charlie, Mister Buck's employee Edgar Salvidar, Mister Buck's co-owner Jon Kitto, Bloomfield Police Department officer Harvey Holt and LPD officer Michael Watts gather around a police cruiser.
(Photo by Sabrina Westfall) [Order this photo]
A local business is using a portion of its profits to help fund local animal-related organizations.

Mister Buck's Genuinely Good Pet Food, owned by partners Jon Kitto and Alonso Salvidar, started operations in Greene County in December 2008.

In August the business expanded out of its current location so it moved production to a building on State Road 54, next to the Bloomfield Processing Plant.

Linton Police Department officer Tom Jerrels demonstrates how his K-9 Charlie responds to commands on Mister Buck's employee Edgar Salvidar.
(Photo by Sabrina Westfall) [Order this photo]
They also own a Greyhound Rescue that saves dogs who are disabled, elderly or have been aggressive.

Mister Buck's was inspired by a Greyhound who nearly lost his life when his former owner left him in the desert to die.

"We went to a meet and greet for the Greyhound Rescue, and we got a dog named GiGi. She was so shy and timid. I called the rescue back and asked what to do, and they suggested we adopt another one," Kitto explained with a laugh.

Buck - later named Mister Buck - was going to be euthanized before Kitto and Salvidar offered to take the pet. The dog eventually became strong both mentally and physically.

Mister Buck went on to live 10 more years, and passed away in 2009.

From the point the first dogs were adopted, the two created a dog rescue, Greyhound Boarding and Retirement Kamp (GBARK).

Mister Buck was ordained as the "Honorary Right Reverend Mister Buck" in a California Episcopal Church, where he lead a group of dogs in his nursing home ministry and later worked with children of incarcerated gang members.

"We were walking down the street one afternoon and Mister Buck stopped at a door. He wouldn't move until a priest came to the door," Kitto said.

Kitto and his rescue dogs were invited to the church where people generously started giving donations for the rescue.

"We moved to Indiana seven years ago, and food was so expensive," Kitto said.

Kitto and Salvidar started mixing their own ingredients to feed their rescued Greyhounds, and eventually started marketing their product.

Mister Buck's Genuinely Good Pet Food is now sold in 133 stores in Indiana and Ohio. The product is sold locally at Bloomfield Supply and Baesler's Market. It is also sold in Marsh, Bloomingfoods, and Wesselman's and Shnucks stores.

"I never expected anything like this at all. We've never had a plan. We are slowly getting one now," Kitto said. "We didn't expect to sell this well in Greene County because it's a higher price food."

The product has no fillers, and all products are "human grade," Kitto stressed. He used the example some dog foods would need to use 5 cups of food for a 50 pound dog, whereas with Mister Buck's the suggested serving is just over three cups of food.

Most importantly, Kitto noted, is the business has found a way to give back to the community it has grown to love.

"We set aside 5 percent of our gross (profits) for donations. ... If we stay in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky, there is a good potential to give back thousands and thousands of dollars," Kitto explained.

The most recent collaboration Kitto has started was with the three K-9 police units in Greene County.

"I thought they were part of the police force funding, but I didn't realize until I was talking to (Linton Police Department Officer) Michael (Watts) that it was funded solely on donations," Kitto said.

Watts and his K-9 Luke, LPD Officer Tom Jerrels and his K-9 Charlie, and Bloomfield Deputy Town Marshal Harvey Holt and his K-9 Dristan will benefit from the pet food business.

"When we first got started, we had to go out everyday after work (to get donations). We raised $15,000 in a couple months," Jerrels said.

Holt noted he has been paying for dog food out of his pocket since working with Dristan.

"It's very important these dogs get high protein. This (pet food) should improve the performance of our dogs. It's also a lot easier for the dog to chew and digest," Holt added.

Watts stressed if it were not for businesses like Mister Buck's the K-9 units would not be a reality in Greene County.

Mister Buck's Genuinely Good Pet Food also makes donations to the Monroe, Orange and Greene County Humane Societies. The business also donates to all Greyhound Rescues, and are expanding its work with other police departments.

"It turns out, this (Greene County) is just a great place to live," Kitto added.

To learn more about Mister Buck's Genuinely Good Pet Food or to get a complete list of suppliers, visit www.mrbuckspetfood.com .

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Way to go Mr. Kitto....you are such a great addition to Greene county...keep up the great work!

-- Posted by shelby67 on Wed, Nov 14, 2012, at 7:26 AM

I had no idea this was happening here in Greene County and I am a lifelong resident. Thank you so much Mr. Kitto and Mr. Salvidar, for giving Greene county a chance to show you what we have to offer and for giving back part of your success toward local needs! I wish you much success in the future!!!

-- Posted by thrift store junkie on Wed, Nov 14, 2012, at 8:22 AM

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