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Sixth-grader overturns hedgehog ban

Jan. 6, 2009 at 4:37 PM

LAWRENCE, Kan., Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A sixth-grader at a Lawrence, Kan., school has successfully lobbied for a change in a municipal ordinance that barred him from keeping a hedgehog as a pet.

Judson King, 11, said he began his lobbying campaign a year ago with a letter to the city commission, the Lawrence Journal-World reported Tuesday. In December, after written and oral presentations, the commissioners, convinced that hedgehogs pose no threat to the Kansas beef cattle industry, changed the ordinance.

Hedgehogs, which look something like small porcupines, are native to Europe and Africa. They were banned in Lawrence because of fears they might carry foot-and-mouth disease.

Judson, a student at Corpus Christi Catholic School, decided about three years ago that he wanted a pet hedgehog. His mother, Rebecca Weeks, said she was happy to learn they were illegal.

"I thought, this is my out. Now I don't have to get him one," Weeks said. "Then he said, 'How do we make them legal?'"

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