Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Barking Dog Keeps Neighbors Up at Night

DEAR ABBY: We moved into a beautiful new house a few months ago, and we're having an issue with a neighbor whose dog barks all night. This has been going on since the first night. I have tried to ignore it. I wear earplugs or put a pillow over my head, but nothing helps, and it's starting to affect my mood because I'm not getting enough sleep.

I'm receiving mixed advice from family about whether I should talk to the neighbor in person or anonymously submit a complaint with the city. I would go in person, but I'm somewhat shy, and I'm not sure how to start a conversation like that with someone I've never met. Any advice on this would be so helpful. -- SLEEP-DEPRIVED IN ARIZONA

DEAR SLEEP-DEPRIVED: It would be interesting to know why your neighbor's dog barks all night. Is it neglected, hungry or thirsty, tied up outside and wanting to come in? Because you are shy, write your neighbors a polite letter explaining that their dog's barking is preventing you from getting a good night's sleep and ask if they can do something to help you out. Give them a chance to rectify the problem. However, if the animal is being ignored and mistreated, contact the animal control department in your city and report it.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics