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Boston pet owners rights? (repost)

Posted by Andrew Grilz on July 11, 1999 at 01:12:17:

My wife and I have been livng in the same apartment for the past five years. The lease says no pets, but we have a dog, and have had him since before we moved in. Recently (meaning the last two years), the pooch has been the subject of several dust-ups with the building owners, who have started to claim that the dog is a noise nuisance, and we have to either get rid of the dog, or vacate. (I know most of my neighbors well enough to know that if someone had complained about it, they would have come to me first. No one has. The building also suffers from it's fair share of college kids, complete with noisy parties. No one ever asked them to vacate.) Up until this past spring, the property manager and I have maintained what I would descibe as a don't ask, don't tell policy. As long as he didn't recieve an offical complaint, he didn't care if the dog was there. This made sense to me, as there are several other dogs in the building, some residing longer than me, some MUCH more likely to be the cause of a complaint than my dog.
The management company is now deciding its time to make us move, or get rid of the dog. Neither option is what I want. My suspicion is that they have finally realized how much more they could rent this apartment for than what we pay. (We're paying $925/mo. for a two bedroom with baclony and EIK on Comm. Ave in Brighton; market value is more like $1200-$1500/mo., or more!).If they can force us out before the leases are renewed, they can rent to a group of college kids for at maybe twice what we pay.
(Sorry, screwed up my email address the last time.)

My question is this: Given that the managment comapny has known about, and essentially allowed for the dog for years (and we can document the dog's residency if needed)and the fact that we are the only people out of several dog owners in the building being forced to abide by a lease clause that no one else abides by, can they threaten to cancel our lease? Do we have a leg to stand on in court vis-a-vis discriminatory behavior towards us? We have renewed the lease five times already with the dog here,even once since this all began. Does that help? Any and all advice would be appreciated.

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