Mammoth Dog Teams needs water

ouimetIn the scorching July heat, few thoughts now go to dog sledding. But for Jim Ouimet, owner and operator of Mammoth Dog Teams, concerns have come up over his Mono County-leased facility.

Ouimet recently raised the fact that the main water line to his facility does not work. He said it froze in January from a well about 500 feet away. Now, he’s hauling water – around 50 gallons a day – for his dogs. Ouimet said, “The County came down and decided to disconnect everything.” He said now they don’t want to re-connect the line.

While officials believe Mono County has no responsibility to provide a water line, they also see the value of Mammoth Dog Teams to the local economy. Ouimet said he had called Mono Public Works for help and then received a return call from the County Counsel’s office to say Mono County does not owe Ouimet a water line. The whole issue will come up at the August 21 Mono Board meeting.

Supervisor Larry Johnston said there has been no vote but that there is a consensus on the Board to try to help Ouimet “succeed in his business. It’s a unique, iconic Eastern Sierra snow activity,” said Johnston. He said the location, which is the old Sheriff’s Sub-station outside Mammoth Lakes, is a good one. Johnston said, “We want to try to give him an opportunity to succeed.” He said he would like to see a way to hook up the water line.

Johnston also spoke of the possibility of fixing up the facility as a caretaker unit for Ouimet, including water and a restroom, since there are many expensive pieces of county-owned heavy equipment stored at the same location. Johnston said he believes housing money would be available to make minimal improvements for a caretaker unit. Ouimet, who endured a season with very little snow, hopes for a little help.

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50 Responses to Mammoth Dog Teams needs water

  1. J.Craig July 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    HOW can you run a business without access to running water to the building you rent? Since it was a frozen pipe that caused the problem, and we are now almost in August, SEVERAL months have passed…

    Towns and cities who endure natural disasters have services restored quicker! I was close to ground zero during the Northridge earthqauke in Los Angeles. Blocks and blocks of homes and businesses were without water and power. Everyone was back on line within a week or two….

    What is the problem???

  2. J.Craig July 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Not sure if anyone bothered to read the article, but the issue is that Jim needs help. He is leasing a property from the county where he has run his successful dog sledding business for over 9 years. It was a very warm and friendly place to visit. I even sent him a welcome mat of a snow dog and a cash donation to say “thanks” for carrying the torch for the sled dog fancy. But now Mono County has boarded up the building and forced him into the back with no running water. The water line froze and broke last winter and they have not allowed him to repair it. He loves his dogs and hauls water to them regularly, but a repaired water line provided to a paying tenant seems like a pretty basic necessity….Supervisor Larry Johnson “would like Jim and his iconic Eastern Sierra snow activity to succeed”. How about starting with access to running water???? It would help Jim. It would help the dogs….

  3. Braveheart July 25, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    Lisa Schade has done more good for dogs (and cats) of the Eastern Sierra than anyone else I know. Keep up the great work, Lisa!

  4. Trouble July 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    I can drink, smoke , blog and have sex all at once this way.

    • Big AL July 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

      Well Trouble .. you might be in for the long haul .. Wayne and Jerry are pretty polarized on this subject. Tank up buddy.

      I could see it, if these dogs were really being treated badly but they are not abused in any way .. it is just some folks opinions on what abuse is including mine.

  5. Wayne Deja July 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    No dog is a happy dog that is tethered to a chain….period.

    • Jerry C. July 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      HAHA! Good one Wayne…
      unfortunately, these ARE working dogs we’re talking about (running over 1000 miles a season), not “short stop” the family chihuahua. No, these dogs don’t sleep at the foot of Jim’s bed, or eat fried eggs and ham for breakfast, or chase balls with other dogs at the local park. In fact, they don’t like other dogs too much, and If given the chance they’d literally eat your chihuahua for a trail side snack. Nothing personal though. LOL.

      You see Wayne, they live within what’s called a “pack mentality,” and sometimes they get into vicious fights with each other (but ALWAYS showing love for every human they see). But before you and Lisa get your panties in a bunch and call PETA, you must realize that this behavior is considered “natural.”

      Sadly, Jim’s working dogs will NEVER know the many pleasures that Shortstop knows… Like hanging out by the wood stove on a cold winter’s night eating Costco dog biscuits and sipping warm milk – and Jim keeps it this way.

      I know it’s extremely difficult for you and Lisa (and others) to grasp this concept – as you might be slightly brainwashed by Animal Planet and other TV shows (or too busy reading up on anti-tethering laws).

      Just saying.

      • Mark July 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

        Like many hard working people in the Eastern Sierra those working dogs have been basically unemployed for over a year.

        The cattle dogs of the Eastern Sierra work much harder then these sled dogs and the cattle dogs work every day of the year.

        Under the circumstances the working dog excuse doesn’t hold water for Jim’s sled dogs. Like I said they’re basically unemployed and out of work.

        • Big AL July 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

          No not unemployed .. c’mon .. they’re seasonal workers just like the rest of the workers in the area like Mammoth Mountain employees. LOL

          • Big AL July 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

            Maybe Jim and work an angle to have them tow bicyclist up the hill so they can down hill it to the village for frappes or lattes. Or even tow skate boarders around. Get them some running shoes and their set!

      • Wayne Deja July 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

        jJerry C…..Everything you say is fine and dandy…nothing wrong with a “pack mentality” concept…my “short stop” is learning that right now….learning that Chloeno,the Cocker Spaniol is # 1 in my pack…Don’t got a wood stove for them to sit in front of,but working with my landlord on that one come the Winter months…rarely give either of them warm milk or fried eggs….gives them diharrea when I do that…and only short stop sleeps at the foot of the bed….Chloeno sleeps ON the bed….and no dog would EVER get the chance to eat either of them for a trail side snack…I Love all dogs,but got that covered,with my “little friend”, when I’m out on the trails and in the woods. I had a dog attacked by another dog on a fishing trip once all because of a stupid dog owner….never to happen again.Everything you say is great for dogs….BUT,just imagine the nice lives,and happy lives Quimet would be giving these dogs of his if he followed the laws and penned them instead of hooking a ball and chain around their necks? As far as PETA goes,didn’t call them….yet….but did make a couple phone calls inquiring to why Mono County is not enforcing the animal laws where everyone else,if they did not, would either lose their animals,or be fined for not doing so….I’ll keep you all posted….

        • Jerry C. July 26, 2012 at 8:30 am #

          LOL. Keep up the good work Wayne! Your doing the community a tremendous favor by trying to get Jim into trouble with the County. You’re a GREAT American – and saving the sled dogs from a life of misery is just a bonus!

          Who knows, maybe if you’re lucky the Animal Planet will do a feature on you…entitled, “Wayne and Lisa – Sled Dog Saviors of the E. Sierra !” or something catchy like that…

          Geez…It’s people like you…

          uh never mind.

          • Wayne Deja July 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

            By breaking the law,sounds like Jim is getting Jim in trouble,don’t you think ? ..”.Wayne and Lisa..Sled Dog Saviors”…sounds good to me….AND to the sled dogs……

  6. Like an AA meeting July 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Like Alcoholics Anonymous, nobody is forced to supply their real name on this blog for fear of …

    a. appearing civil
    b. appearing loosely wrapped
    c. getting voted out of office
    d. fill in the blank

    • Big AL July 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      LOL it really makes me laugh .. some get so interested in who it is that post here and feel they have to know . as one poster said .. some fear that they will be retaliated upon by others if they were known for their comments here, and there is truth in that.

      Yes I have given my real whole name here er the rest of it. My nick name Big AL is known in some circles lol .. Allen is part of my name, but who really cares except for those who feel the need to know .. for some reason like they might like to call my home and feel the need to let me know a few things or even threaten me. I really don’t care but I don’t like having people call me and be piss heads on the phone and make me mad, especially with my family.

      I invite all the haters to get their own nick names like me and Trouble and Dingo lol .. even the playing field a lil bit. Then there is no worries.

      I like “Like an AA meetings” fill in the blank, feel free to fill in what ever reason you think of me for using a nick name .. I can use some laughs always.

      But seriously .. who gives a rats xss anyways .. really?

      • Its a civility thing July 25, 2012 at 6:30 am #

        I’m not so sure it is some sort of intense interest in who does the posting.
        Seems to me when somebody does post their real, authentic name, this automatically creates a situation of a more civil and well-thought out posting in lieu of a no-holds barred, give-em-hell kind.

      • Trouble July 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

        The right to free speech is alive and well in the Eastern Sierra’s today . Sorry you all don’t like that idea.

  7. Disclosure July 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Yeah, “Big Al.”
    Quit hiding and give us your REAL name.

    • Benett Kessler July 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

      Big Al has given us his real name in the past.

  8. Lisa Schade July 24, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    I think it’s interesting that me and Benett are the only two posters who use our real names. I wonder how vocal everyone would be if they weren’t hiding behind fake posting names. Just sayin’ ….

    • Jerry C. July 24, 2012 at 10:16 am #

      Lisa… I can admire the fact that you use your real name. Are you looking for a medal of bravery or something?

      We can care less….really.

      Not sure if you noticed, but this is an internet news site. I can appreciate the anonymity of it all, why can’t you?
      Did it ever occur to you that maybe some of these anonymous posters are scared of retaliation from people like you? After all, it seems as if you have it out for Jim (for some reason)

      Since you’re so interested in Jim dogs, why don’t you volunteer one season and see what really goes on? Maybe then you’d learn things like:

      …how much exercise they really get, how much food they eat, how happy they are, how friendly they are to children (I’m always amazed at how random children can jump all over the dogs and the dogs NEVER react with violence – can’t really say the same about your dogs), and how much they love Jim and all the tourists who visit them.

      The proof is in the pudding, Lisa, just take the time to open your eyes – it’s not too hard. Just saying

      P.S. Jerry isn’t my real name, and this isn’t a “fake post.”

    • Who Cares? July 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm #


      Try listening to what is being said and not who is saying it. It really is none of your business or very important who says what, why, when or who. You don’t have to agree or even read what anyone writes.

      Most folks from a company owned town know why people like to remain anonymous, answering to you would be top of my list! Just sayin’….

    • Ken Warner July 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm #


  9. Big AL July 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Amen Dingo .. they don’t like the barking dog .. get them out of the neighborhood … put them somewhere where we don’t have to hear them .. but .. ohh they are so precious .. we can’t stand to see them abused .. no Some of the same people who don’t want to hear them are the same that jump on the animal rights wagon.

    • Greg July 23, 2012 at 11:14 am #

      So all you aghast whiners out there who let their dogs sleep in bed with them feel that Jim’s WORKING dogs should sleep with him too! Reread Bennett’s post about the study and then go get a Life! His dogs are content, well taken care of and it is absurd to compare your groomed and manicured lap dogs to these extremely durable dogs!
      What’s next? Cattle shouldn’t be fenced in and oh my God, branding and castration have to go!! You live in the country now, respectfully adapt, or go back to the beach!

      • just one July 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

        OMG Greg, KUDOS to you this is absolutely the truth, and I do sleep with one of my dogs, but I wouldn’t want 40 huskies crawlin in there, I have always said that this didn’t make sense if those dogs didn’t get exercise and lots of it, they couldn’t pull sleds in the Winter for the nice tourist people. Plus perhaps the folks complaining do not understand dogs very well. There is a hiearchy amongst the dogs that pull and they each know where they belong in this and not all of them get along. So you could and most likely would be instigating a dog fight by expecting them to all run and frolick and play together. Some laws are not right, some laws don’t take everything into consideration and just cause they can make you not chain up your dog, it doesn’t mean that is automatically gonna make you a great dog owner.

        • Big AL July 23, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

          Some people do not understand as you say just one … what these dogs do and the world of dog sledding .. they make Jim Ouimet and others like him out to be some sort of monsters .. oh the humanity in it all ..

          I mean … even the picture on the cover story tells a lot about Jim and his dogs. most if not all teamsters / mushers .. love their dogs and have a loving relationship with them.

          These are working dogs who live a life of working .. just as teams of horses and mules live. They are not abused like some seem to think. And will try to beguile people with emotional thoughts for the dogs which are simply not true in so many cases.

          What he does with his dogs is not abuse, but some will twist it into their slanted thoughts of what they perceive as abuse. You want to see real abuse .. look at how people neglect animals such as dogs as seen on animal planet shows like animals detectives and such. There are people out there who radically abuse animals, but this is not the case.

          Yeah Greg .. what would be next … you would be a monster and a criminal for making such animals as these dogs, or other team animals work like they do .. but if people ever take the time to personally watch animals such as these, you see that they really are happy at what they do .. they can’t wait! .. to get out there and pull that sled and love every minute of it.

          So where is the case for abuse in this?

      • Trouble July 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

        Greg- I agree with you almost in full, just don’t try to cut in on my wave dude.

  10. Dingo July 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    What a shame shame shame, so much land in our area and there is no room to house 40 sled dogs. Jim needs more space and/or a building.
    Maybe the County could rent him the animal shelter building on Benton Crossing Road if it closes, allowing Jim to comply with the teathering law AND eliminating the chances of another mountain lion attack on the dogs AND I could be wrong but they may have running water in that building.
    Maybe Jim could re locate to June Mtn and run his dog sled rides from there!
    Maybe MMSA could rent him building space to house the dogs since it appears its going to be pretty quiet at June Mtn. Maybe MMSA should just buy Jim out, they have land and they have housing.
    The sled dogs are so much a part of the alpine experience we, as a resort community, spend so much time and money to make available to our visitors. Probably the most unique activity most visitors will ever experience while visiting our area. The dogs deserve to be here they’ve earned it.
    Anyone ever hear of Tex Couchane? Tex was in Mammoth with his team of sled dogs before most of us were even a twinkle in our daddy’s eye.
    Too bad some people just see, or hear, a bunch a barking dogs.

    • Jerry C. July 23, 2012 at 8:41 am #

      Great comment Dingo! Lots of good ideas there! I agree 110%!

  11. Realist July 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    For years the Town of ML and Mono County put these Sled Dogs on the face of our marketing campaigns exploiting every drop they could.

    It is unconscionable that the Bureaucrats now abandon them as they mature.

    Is that how we treat our family?

    I thought Mono County honored it’s “Home Town Heroes.”

    Including the four footed ones…

    It is a disgrace that we are even having this discussion.

    We need to get our moral compass calibrated back to HUMAN.

    Compassion, kindness and thoughtfulness used to be paramount in the Eastern Sierra, what happened to that Spirit of Community? Do we need to elect new leadership to save the DOGS?

  12. leatherbag July 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    We had a water pipe freeze several years ago. I turned the main valve off, got a shovel, dug down to it, thawed the ground around it with a *weed burner as I dug, and then, REPAIRED IT. After that, I turned the main valve back on and the water flowed out of the faucets.
    (*Note- Shouldn’t need the week burner this time of year.)

    I guess I should have just complained about it and hauled water to the house for 6+ months.

    • just one July 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

      Was it your property? cause I would be willing to bet you that if Jim started digging up county property and doing his own repairs Rita Sherman “risk management” would have some issues with it. His hands are fairly tied because of county Bull

  13. Tim July 20, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Mammoth creek is right behind the substation. Why not take water from there. I’m sure that LADWP won’t mind!

  14. Cat July 20, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    What can we do to help Jim?
    Write letters to the county? Get some volunteers to help fix the water line?
    I’m sure there are many of us that are ready and willing to help 🙂

  15. MJA July 20, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    The road to Mammoth
    Driving to Mammoth just past those ugly airport hangers is the old sub station road; Don’t turn there! The inequity and Inhumanity of mankind is chained to boxes in the sun and heat (without water) like the slavers of the past and will turn your stomach and make you sick.


    • Benett Kessler July 20, 2012 at 10:00 am #

      FYI, the dogs do have water. Jim Ouimet is hauling it from the well 500 feet away on a daily

    • Jeff July 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      Learn to read…

  16. Lisa Schade July 20, 2012 at 12:19 am #

    I’m saddened that Mono County continues to allow Ouimet to chain his dogs, in direct violation of the law (Senate Bill 1578 enacted January 1, 2007), and he does it on Mono County land, no less! Sled dogs are not exempt from this law (they are NOT working/herding dogs and are NOT exempt from the law). In February 2010, Mono County Counsel Stacey Simon stated “Oimet needs to show that he is in compliance with the tethering law.” Mono County Animal Control ordered Quimet to house the dogs in pens by March 15, 2010. To date, the dogs are still on chains (5-1/2 years after the anti-tethering law was enacted).

    • Benett Kessler July 20, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Lisa, Thought you might be interested in a study done at Cornell. These veterinarians are saying the jury is still out
      on what’s best for sled dogs. Here’s the name of the study and their conclusion:

      A Comparison of Tethering and Pen
      Confinement of Dogs
      Seong C. Yeon, Glen Golden, Wailani Sung, Hollis N. Erb,
      Arleigh J. Reynolds, and Katherine A. Houpt
      College of Veterinary Medicine
      Cornell University

      In each housing environment, whether tethered or in a pen, sled dogs spent the majority of their time either lying or sitting. They had more opportunity for interaction with one another in the pen, but less space. Stereotypic pacing in the pens occurred more frequently than circling on the tether.

      There was no indication that tethering was more detrimental to the dogs’ welfare than housing in a pen. Although tethering is intuitively less acceptable, the fact that the dogs rarely pulled at their chains and the lack of major differences in behavior indicate that tethering may be an acceptable alternative housing method, but this may depend on the breed and experience of the dog.

      Our findings provide no evidence that tethering was any more or less detrimental to dog welfare than being housed in pens (as recommended by the USDA). Definite recommendations regarding the use of pens and tethers require further experimental trials in which environmental and
      prior experience can be better controlled than in this study.

      • Mark July 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

        I could bring up studies that challange just about any law.

        The fact is you either drive the speed limit or you get a citation.

        Benett, Ouimet is in violation of State law!

        • Reality Bites July 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

          Hey Mark, If you are so concerened, go to Home Depot with about 10k in your pocket, buy the materials and build some pens for Ouimet who is still suffering financially from last winter.

          • Mark July 21, 2012 at 9:03 am #

            It’s amazing how the residence of Mono County pick and choose which laws they’ll follow and which ones they won’t.

            It’s not ok to tear out road closed barriers but it’s entirely ok to abuse animals if your business is hurting.

            Who exactly is in charge of deciding which laws are over looked and which one’s are not.

          • Benett Kessler July 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

            Road closures are Forest Service

      • Ted Schade July 25, 2012 at 9:35 am #

        Benett – The law is the law. Sure there are bad laws. If a law is bad, it is up to the people to change that law, not ignore it because one study indicates the law might be a bad law.
        It is against the law in California to chain dogs not involved in agriculture for more than 3 hours a day. The Mammoth sled dogs are chained for more than 3 hours a day and they are not involved in agriculture. This is a violation of the law — on Mono County property. The law either needs to be modified or the dogs need to be unchained and Mono County needs to enforce the law.

        • Joann Lijek July 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

          Yes, the law is the law. I believe it is also against the law to take possession of people’s pets without their permission.

          It might also possibly be against the law to create a workplace rule that does not allow pets to run loose at the office, then ignore your own rule and subject your non-dog owning employees to the hazards associated with dogs running loose with each other.

          Of course, this is better for the dogs, so it is right.

          And, to please Lisa, here’s my real name!

        • Wayne Deja July 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

          Ted….I think what it is …if you live….and have a business that brings in tourist dollars in Mammoth Lakes,you get to pick and choose the laws that others in the state of California have to follow…What gets me is this Quimet was told OVER 2 YEARS AGO that he was in violation of the anti-tether law by Mono County Animal Control….which makes Mono Animal Control look bad for not enforcing the laws they are being paid to enforce….and makes Quimet look like an animal abuser….according to the LAW.

    • Dingo July 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      Although these dogs are not working in the summer Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskys ARE working breeds and they work their butts off in a normal winter. Make no mistake THEY ARE working dogs.
      However, I would like to see them UN teathered and interacting with each other when not actually working but a fenced area and/or a building would be required for this and since there is not much money in this type of buisness few are willing or able to help.

  17. upthecreek July 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    just run a line from the airport…everything over there is FREE

  18. Friar Tuck July 19, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Now here someone that really needs a”mobility” subsidy Rusty!


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