DEAR HARRIETTE: An elderly couple lives next door to me in an apartment in a gated community. I have become very fond of this couple over the years -- we are all animal lovers. I recently learned that the couple has three more dogs than the three I see them walking. The three other dogs remain in the unit. This means there are six dogs living in a small one-bedroom apartment. The association allows only two pets to a unit. They walk the three dogs
I knew about behind their unit so not too many people see them.
The realization that this couple has three other dogs that never see the light of day indicated to me they are hoarders. I have never been in their home in the eight years I have lived next door to them. I am very concerned for them as their health is not good, but also for the welfare of their dogs. I do have to admit the dogs seem to be well cared for and in good health. If I were to report them, I know our friendship would be over. I have hinted my concerns to them. They are pretty reclusive and in denial that anything is wrong. Please advise. -- Dog Lover, Salt Lake City
DEAR DOG LOVER: This is tricky. As you know, many people bend the rules of their condo association, often to no one's detriment. It sounds like you are certain of three dogs that are well kept. Even though the additional dog you've seen is against the association policy, you see that all dogs seem healthy.
You also say that you are aware of three more dogs. If you have not seen them, how can you verify that? I do not believe that you should tell the association about your suspicions. You could be completely wrong.
Instead, as a caring neighbor, continue to talk to the couple. If you can offer any support to them -- especially given their fragile health -- by all means do so. Otherwise, you really have nothing to report.