Dear Annie: My next-door neighbors are breeding and selling dogs illegally. Sometimes they have as many as 18 dogs in the house. The problem is having to put up with all that barking, and even worse, the smell permeates our driveway, porch and yard. It is disgusting.
We are retired and have a beautiful home. We cannot enjoy our own yard because of these neighbors, and selling is not an option. I have tried everything from attempting to reason with them to reporting them to the city and animal control centers, to no avail. Each agency passes the buck.
In addition, I am sure they are not paying taxes on this illegal business venture. What other avenues can I pursue? — Barking Up a Tree
Dear Barking: Have you tried the police? If this is an illegal enterprise, the police should arrest them. Have you called the humane society? If the dogs are being mistreated, the humane society should get involved. Also look into local noise ordinances and check out your homeowners or neighborhood association, if there is one, and find out whether there is any type of intervention or mediation available to you.
Dear Annie: You've printed several letters about thank-you notes, so I hope you can help with my dilemma.
I recently attended a wedding, and I gave the couple a substantial amount of cash that I placed in a card. It has been over a month, and I have not yet received any acknowledgement. My concern is that perhaps the cash was lost. Should I ask whether they got it? — Unsure in New York
Dear Unsure: We suspect the couple has not yet gotten around to writing their thank-you notes. We'd be impressed if they had done so within a month. Please give them a little more time. If you don't hear anything in another two months, it is OK to phone and ask whether the gift reached its destination. It is always safer to have a gift sent to the bride or groom's home, or hand a card with a check to the couple, the parents or the best man. Leaving cash on a gift table is risky.
Dear Annie: I am tired of hearing women complain about their mothers-in-law. I have raised a son, sacrificed, worried, lost sleep, worked jobs I didn't want and devoted my entire life to what was best for him — as all mothers do. I dreamed that one day he would marry and have children, enriching our family. Then he meets "the one," and she is accepted and welcomed. We help them get settled and offer financial assistance and emotional support, because I want my son and his family to be happy.
And then one day it starts. You are no longer greeted with open arms. You have to call first before stopping by (even if you are next door). You get lectures about "boundaries," and in the worst case, you are exiled.
Do you want to know what I think? I think there are rotten little girls who need to control their men and are too insecure to accept their mothers-in-law as "Mom" and instead see you as the "other woman." They show no respect. A mother has a relationship with her son that should be cherished, not destroyed.
I pity their own daughters if they are raised by such messed-up women and can only hope that karma prevails if they have sons of their own. — Unhappy Mother of a Son
Dear Unhappy: While we agree that some daughters-in-law can be insecure and jealous of their mothers-in-law, we completely disagree when it comes to dropping by without calling first. Too many parents trespass all over their children's boundaries, as if they don't apply to them. If you want to be treated with respect, you also have to show respect for the married couple. We don't care whose mother you are.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.