Dear Annie: I am struggling with my neighbors. They have not one, but two barking dogs, which is double the noise. They confine the dogs to their backyard, which happens to be adjacent to ours. The barking drones on for hours, sometimes days, from very early morning until long after sunset. Our master bedroom, as well as our kitchen and family room, face the neighbors' backyard, thus rendering half of our living space useless due to excessive noise. That's with the windows closed.
It's even worse when we're outside. These dogs bark at any movement or noise, which means every time I do yard work, they are sounding off. They even bark when I shovel the walk in the winter. It is making me miserable.
I, too, have a dog, but he doesn't bark all day long. I have tried several things hoping to resolve this issue without involving the authorities. I would like to live in quiet harmony with my neighbors. -- Reached My Limit
Dear Reached: We don't know what you've already tried, but we assume it includes talking to the neighbors about the barking, asking them to bring the dogs inside for enough of the day that you can catch a break, and suggesting they look into dog training classes.
If those things have not helped, phone the humane society and ask them to check out the situation. It seems abusive to let dogs bark for days at a time, and be left outdoors, rain or shine, summer and winter. Do you have a neighborhood or homeowners association that can use mediation to resolve this? Also check the noise ordinances in your town and notify the police. We recommend you document your efforts and as a last resort, contact a lawyer. Sometimes, one letter from an attorney can have the desired effect, but be prepared to follow through.
Dear Annie: I read the letters from "Heartbroken in California," and "Frustrated in Oregon," who both complained about stepdaughters who were terribly rude and insulting to them, while behaving like little angels when their fathers were around. In each situation, Dad would not stop the rude behavior, because he claimed he didn't see it.
Yes, these women could record the daughters' rudeness for proof. But here is another idea: Stepmom should ask the teen daughter whether she would like to stay there and take care of her dad through his senior years, including illnesses and possible dementia. Ask if she wants to do his meals, cleaning and laundry and to monitor his medications, taking him to the doctor as often as necessary. If so, fine. If not, would she prefer that he be married to the stepmother, who will care for him instead?
It might be best for a third party to mention this to her, so as not to have tension between the husband and wife. But I think it could get the point across. -- Paducah, Kentucky
Dear Paducah: You make a good point, but logic and reason often don't enter into these emotional and manipulative choices. Though it's certainly worth a try.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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