DEAR ABBY: I'm recently married, and in my opinion, my wife has too many pets -- seven inside dogs. She also feeds the neighborhood cats, so at any given time of day, there are 10 to 18 cats in our front yard.
The dogs inside have no boundaries. They have taken over the main living space. The family room sofas are filthy and destroyed, so we can't use that space either, and it's a total eyesore. The carpet is gone, and there is dirt and dog hair everywhere.
I'm at my wits' end. I feel I have no say in this matter, and I'm constantly stressed over these living conditions. I hate going home. I have dogs with me when I eat, sleep and make love. I don't know how to approach her on this when she sees nothing wrong with it. All she sees is their cuteness. -- LIVING LIKE AN ANIMAL IN PHOENIX
DEAR LIVING: Didn't you know about your wife's love of animals while you were engaged? Explain to her that when you married her, you didn't realize you would be just another occupant in her doghouse. The living conditions you describe are not only stressful, but could also be considered a health hazard.
Contact the city or county and find out whether there are restrictions on the number of animals that homeowners are allowed to keep on their property. (I hope they have all been spayed or neutered!)
As a partner in this marriage, your wishes should be taken into consideration and a compromise worked out. I, too, am concerned about her feeding the ever-increasing number of neighborhood cats, some of which may carry diseases. One problem with leaving food out for strays is it can attract other "critters," which could endanger the cats she is trying to help.