In the case of the Kansas family CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman met, the animal in question was a small, spiny mammal native mostly to Asia and Africa - a hedgehog.
"When I saw them I thought they were the cutest thing alive," Judson argued to his mom.
"I said we're not getting a hedgehog, I'd never heard of a hedgehog," said his mother, Rebecca Weeks.
That's how exotic pet debates always start.
What makes this one, in the Weeks family, different is how it ends: at the city hall of Lawrence, Kansas.
Lawrence Mayor Mike Denver said that Jud provided him with "a portfolio of information - the photographs of hedgehogs - he had justifications."
That all started more than two years ago. As a typical kid, Jud argued owning a hedgehog would teach him responsibility.
"But that's when she said, 'Why don't you start early - go take care of the dogs.' And I'm like - Oh, I didn't think that was going to be involved."
So he took care of the dogs, thinking that would earn him a hedgehog. Unfortunately for Jud, his mom is a lawyer.
"She did some research and found out - whoa - they're illegal," Jud said.
Rebecca said: "I thought, alrighty then."
"End of story?" Hartman said.
"That's right," Rebecca said.
Well, not quite.
Last month, Jud put on his best suit and tie to tell City Council there was no logical reason to disallow hedgehogs.
"He got up and he just delivered it like a pro," Rebecca said.
"It was amazing, one of the best laid-out arguments that I've seen since I've been on the commission the last two years," said Mayor Denver.
Needless to say, it is now perfectly legal to own a hedgehog in Lawrence, Kan. Jud named his new pet Little Luke.
"Is it as much fun as you thought it would be?" Hartman asked Jud.
"Oh it's a lot more too. He is prickly but he doesn't charge at you that much," Jud said.
"Oh, that's good," Hartman responded.
Plus, Jud says this whole experience has taught him a valuable lesson.
"If you're a kid - if you don't like a law - if you feel it's unfair - change it," said Jud.