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Monday, January 5, 2009

Huge Sonic Fan gets Ban on Hedgehogs overturned

11-year-old fights city hall, and wins

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This little guy changed Lawrence law...Or maybe it was this little guy

11 year-old Judson King became so enamored with the blue video game character Sonic the Hedgehog, he decided he needed a real one.

Then . .

"I got the breaking news they were illegal and that kind of made me really mad," Judson said.

Lawrence's animal code has long prohibited the fury rodents in the city limits, a fact that didn't particularly upset Judson's mother.

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

And that began a three year effort, perhaps crusade is a better word, to make hedgehogs legal in the city.

"I pretty much did research every single night for the past three years, and I daydreamed about having them. I had about 5,000 pictures of them," Judson said.

After the research, Judson sent a letter to city commissioners in January 2008, essentially asking them why they didn't like hedgehogs.

Eleven months later, commissioners put his issue on a city commission agenda.

"I was just playing with hedgehog pictures and then my mom comes in and says, "You are going in front of the city commission on Tuesday. I thought I would faint," Judson said.

At city hall, Judson arrived in a suit and tie and armed with personalized folders full of hedgehog facts for each of the commissioners.

It was no contest. Commissioners could not find a good reason why they were banned in the first place.

Judson King one, city commissioner nothing.

"I loved having him. I think he ought to run for commission in April," City Commissioner Sue Hack said.

Judson may not have the time.

Three years after he first asked for it, Judson got his hedgehog, Little Luke, for Christmas.

"Oh, it has been really worth it," Rebecca said.

Judson says all is going well with his new pet. But because hedgehogs are nocturnal, Little Luke's stirring frequently wakes Judson in the middle of the night.

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