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Family comes home with 2 pregnant pets from Wallingford pet store

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NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

A family in New Britain was surprised when they found out their new pet had a litter of babies.

However, they were even more shocked when they bought another pregnant pet a few weeks later.

A pet guinea pig was at the top of 12-year-old Skylyn Stulpin's Christmas list this past year.

Her mother, Laurie Stulpin, went to All Pets Club in Wallingford to make her daughter's Christmas wish come true.

Skylyn Stulpin and her sister, Ashley, said they loved their new furry friend, but they got a surprise as the guinea pig delivered two babies. 

"I didn't expect anything like that," Laurie Stulpin said.

The Stulpins said they had no idea that the guinea pig was pregnant or even a female.

Stulpin went back to All Pets Club to find out what had happened. 

"I went to the store, and I told the gentleman and he said, 'well, it can happen,'" Laurie Stulpin said.

Laurie Stulpin said she thought it was strange, especially since the store is not a breeder. She said she decided to chalk it up to a fluke.

Laurie Stulpin then went back to the same store to buy a hedgehog to add to their collection of family pets. She had no idea that the hedgehog was pregnant, too. 

About two weeks after buying the hedgehog, she gave birth to a stillborn litter. The hedgehog wasn't looking well.

Laurie Stulpin took the hedgehog to the veterinarian, but it was too late. 

"I brought her to the vet," Laurie Stulpin said. "The vet said 'she was too young to be breeding and that it ended up killing her and the babies.'"

The family said they were devastated. 

"It was very heartbreaking because when you get animals for your children, your children get attached," Laurie Stulpin said.

Laurie Stulpin went back to All Pets Club because she wanted her money back.

"I was told I could not get a refund, that it was after the seven-day policy," Laurie Stulpin said.

Eyewitness News talked to the owner of All Pets Club, Ed Foucault, who said that he did offer a refund, and a store credit.

Foucault said the situation was unfortunate, and he did everything he could to make the situation right. 

"Of course we were upset about what happened for the customer, too," Foucault said. "It's traumatic, but as doing business the right way, we refunded the hedgehog, and we also gave her a store credit for her vet bill."

Laurie Stulpin said she was not offered a refund for the hedgehog, which cost her more than $200. She added that she wouldn't want the store credit.

"I don't want to buy any more," Laurie Stulpin said. "What if they have more babies? Or I get more vet bills?" 

Foucault said she has used the credit, and has even been back to the store to buy other animals.

Eyewitness News wanted to know how common it was to buy a pregnant pet.

Foucault said it does happen from time to time and that's just the way nature works.

"They have a tendency to sometimes mate," Foucault said. 

Since they are kept in a cage and they aren't spayed or neutered, it is a possibility. Foucault said he would buy back any babies from customers.

Laurie Stulpin's guinea pig's litter was no different, but she said that's simply not true.

Laurie Stulpin said she hopes her story will force the company to change their policy. She said allowing pet stores to let animals mate is unsafe.

Laurie Stulpin said she thinks that her hedgehog is the same.

"I want to make sure that the animals are protected because they can't keep doing this to people," Laurie Stulpin said.

Officials with the Department of Agriculture told Eyewitness News it's legal for pet stores to allow both genders of small animals to be in the same cage and allowing them to mate.

Department of Agriculture officials said they would look into any complaints. 

Foucault said they never intentionally to sell pregnant small animals. It's in their best interest to sell any babies and they would never want to burden the customer.

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