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ONLY ON 3: Local store kicks out family with service dog

READ MORE: Local store kicks out family with service dog

NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- The family of a Wilmington special needs child is angry and disappointed.

While shopping in Castle Hayne, the family was ordered out of the Western Shop. The problem? The owner would not allow their service dog, Ellie, inside. Even after showing the credentials, the family says they were forcibly told to leave.

Five-year-old Amanda Invancevich and her service dog, Ellie, are best friends.

"In the two years we've had Ellie, or almost two years, Amanda has blossomed," Amanda's mother Susan Ivancevich said. "She does so many things that she didn't used to do. She is now independently mobile."

Amanda had a stroke before she was born, damaging the left side of her brain. At six months old, Amanda was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and then she started having as many as 150 seizures a day. As a result the left side of her brain was removed and, for the most part, stopped the seizures.

"I look at Amanda every day, and I don't see a disabled child. I see Amanda," her mom said.

The Ivancevich family counts on Ellie to be both a protector and a companion.

"They're really close," Amanda's sister Katie said. "Ellie has helped the whole family with everything."

The Western Shop on Castle Hayne Road didn't see Ellie as a companion but as a nuisance.

"People don't want to put clothes on that the dog brushed up against, and they will. The dog smelled," owner Robert Bryant told us when we confronted him about the incident.

Although certified service dogs are legally allowed wherever humans can go, the owner of the store admits he asked the Ivancevich family and the dog to leave.

"Laws that I've got? I don't even have to admit the woman in to my store," the Bryant said. "That's my law."

Susan Ivancevich said she reached for Ellie's credentials, but Bryant refused.

"He said he didn't care what the law was," she said, "that it was his law and his store and get the 'blank' dog out of the there."

Susan, her daughters and a friend left the store. That's when the sadness set in.

"To be treated that disrespectfully by someone that you have a special needs kid," Invancevich said through tears. "He's gonna run you out of a store? I find it so frustrating that he can't see the amazing gifts that God gives you in these kids."

Ivancevich says if she does take any legal action, any money gained will be given to a charity that helps special needs children.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


I hope his store gets forced out of business

This store owner is a dead beat. A service animal is not a pet and has a legal right to have unrestricted access in places the general public is allowed access. To this girl, the service dog is an extension to the child just like a wheelchair is to someone who has mobility impairment. Every business owner should know about the Americans With Disabilities Act. I hope every single person boycotts this jerk's store to where he never gets any more customers at all and gets forced out of business.

If I ever go on vacation to North Carolina and happen to be in the same town as this jerk's store, I would rather drive 50 to 100 miles to shop somewhere else that has western clothing and pay out the wazoo for extra gasoline than to go to this idiot's store. I hope he never ever gets another customer again.

shopper with Service Dog kicked out of store

I was visiting family in your area this past week and saw the story Wway 3 reported concerning a store owner who kicked out a family who were shopping at his store.
I can't believe it, who is this guy? does he know what year it is?
Does he know that the rest of the US knows this code and lives by it? the owner on T.V said "he never hear of such a law ?" has he been in the south to long? Hey ! poke your head out buddy, people in New Hanover County are not that special that they don't have to follow the fed laws .

I'll tell you what, not only will I never shop in his store, nor will the family I visited. Give this guy a FINE! If nothing else, he should get a fine for saying something so stupid!
Amanda- tell Ellie to pee on his leg ! and YES take this guy to court!

the south?

What's with the comment dig about the south for? Obviously you know nothing about the south. I have a disabled child and the "south" is very compassionate about special needs children and their needs. Your probably a lib.

Very nice logic. You say

Very nice logic. You say "this is an unfair characterization of the south" and then accuse someone of being "a lib." Your logic is irrational anti-liberal garbage. The other person, however, has a very reasonable set of well-known politics to support the assertion that this shop owner's attitude may have originated in "southern" thought.

In the south, history and politics demonstrate clearly a preference for "states' rights" and for individual freedom to refuse service, ignore such provisions or circumvent them in ways that are technically legal, and use (valid or invalid) interpretations of local or state law to overturn, ignore, or neglect enforcement of such laws.

He is citing his right to refuse service to anyone in order to discriminate. Don't you remember this happening in the south, particularly, and that it was supported by belief in "states' rights" and "freedom" to do such things? Actively ignoring or opposing federal law?

Sounds like precisely the thing "libs" would oppose, but that "tea partiers" and the like would support. The feds, after all, have no right to tell you what to do or who to let shop in your store, right?

Ok... lets not make comments

Ok... lets not make comments such as "you are probably a lib." This has nothing to do with southerners versus northerners nor liberals versus conservatives. This is a federal law- period. The owner to this store needs to be educated and reprimanded! End of story.

the LAW

For all who think this is just about a dawg, let me point out that:

**Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.**

I can't imagine it being much clearer. Which part of this is hard to understand I don't get. If the dog truly **smelled** there were most likely many more user friendly ways to run this family out of his store than what he chose.

Western shop in Castle Hayne

I am a parent (grandparent) of a special needs
child. He is 11 years old and has cp he cannot
walk or talk.
I find that this man owner (probably not for long) of the Western shop should have everything done to him that can be possible done. I have never shopped their before but have relatives that have and did before this. You can count on them not going back or me ever going their! This man is a very cruel and mean man! He ought to pay dearly for what he did.
My thoughts and prayers go out to this little girl and her family!
For the owner I hope he gets whats coming to him! This is just so terrible!

Prior History

Apparently, he does have a prior history and has disallowed service animals into his business on several other occasions. He should be aware of the laws that concern his customers, I believe he may have actually known what he was doing was wrong, and I don't think a week or two in jail would be harsh. Ignorance is no excuse in this matter. VERY disappointed in how this man represented our community.

Service Dogs

I believe that the service dog, Ellie, was rovided to Amanda by Please check out their site and help them if you can. They aso provide service dogs for Vetrans.


Walmart used to have a no dog policy, just like him. Are you hypocrites going to continue to shop there? God, you people are insufferable simpletons.


There has been an addition to this story. Now the owner Robert Bryant has publicly apologized to the family but continues to defend his actions by stating that he did not know there was a law requiring him to allow animals in his store. Well guess what Robert? In this country, ignorance of the law is NOT a valid legal defense. You discriminated against an innocent child and you WILL be held accountable for it.

I'm shocked so many people

I'm shocked so many people agree with the business, where is our humanity and compassion as a nation? It's no wonder this country is controlled by greed. How often does a service dog go into his store? once every 10 years maybe? Grow a heart.

Service Dog

To Susan Ivancevich:

As the mother of a grown disabled daughter and her fantastic medical working dog Thor of 12 years, please do not back down from seeking legal counsel and pursuing damages. Mr. Bryant and others like him that plead ignorance of the law (I personally do not believe that he didn’t know the law) must be taught that he cannot treat our children, the disabled this way. By pursuing damages, you will be sending a clear message to all store owners that try to circumvent Federal Law and the disabled and their companions would benefit greatly.

Say what you like about the

Say what you like about the South, but there are a few things the Good 'ol Boys will stand up for...........old folks, little kids, especially those with disabilities and animals. Looks like you messed with two out of three. You won't be in business long. You might consider I-95 North.

WOW I hope the PEOPLE in

WOW I hope the PEOPLE in this area that are service dog supporters spend their money somewhere else.

Mistakes are made

I in no way agree with Mr. Bryant's actions, they were wrong and cold. However, people do make mistakes and it appears he has no prior history of this kind of behavior. It also sounds as though he wasn't trying to be disrepectful to the girl or her mother, but instead stick to the rules in which he has posted and followed for years. Although wrong, hopefully he has learned from this mistake and hopefully this can be settled outside of court, sometimes a heartfelt apology can mean the world.

I also wish the girl all the best, tough hand she has been dealt.

he does have a prior history

he does have a prior history with this it just never made the news

Store Owner Forbids Guidee Dog To Enter Business

If Robert Bryant would care to deal with me, I will buy a plane ticket and come straight to his town and beat the living daylights out of him; I will assure you that would be the last time he did something so redneck, stupid and heartless.

I live in California, but I would take time out to visit this piece of human garbage. And the hypocrisy of it all is that he probably considers himself a Christian.

And if the people of that town do not boycott that piece of human detritus, you people are horrible. His business needs bankruptcy.

Poor little girl should be treated like a princess wherever she goes and receive love and affection, not rejection and hate.

What's wrong down there!!????

Well, Mr. Bryant, I am awaiting your invitation. By the way, I am 65 years-old.

by the way, posting threats

by the way, posting threats on the internet, especially on an online forum, is not the best idea in the world. just in case you missed that in the past 65 years of your life...

All about the Benjamins

The store owner had a point. If the merchandise is soiled, he can't sell it and make a profit. The really sad thing about this whole ordeal is that puts a magnifying glass on our society as a whole. "Profit before people" should be on our currency rather than "In god we trust". Our government has long supported this mantra by their actions. No healthcare for the poor, tax breaks for the rich, trickle down economics. This store owner was just mimicking what he sees our leaders do, forgo human compassion to turn a buck. What else would you expect from a Capitalistic government? Don't fool yourself with the whole Democracy shindig. We stopped being a democracy loooong ago. If you want to blame someone, blame your congressman/woman, or governor, or your president. From my standpoint the store owner is just a hillbilly who isn't smart enough to see through the capitalism beer goggles he has been forced to wear for his entire life. You can't blame him any more than you can blame a 4 year old for using filthy language, if that's all he's ever heard.

All about the benjamins

Hillbilly?!?! That has nothing to do with nothing. The store owner has the right to refuse anyone coming into his store. The "service dog" didn't need to accompany the child into the store, she had someone with her, the dog was not necessary. I will make a special effort to shop in that store!! I don't like dogs in a place of business either, they always cause the store to smell and besides, I don't want merchandise that a smelly dog has rubbed against. If westerners like dogs so much, GO WEST. I would never hurt a dog but I do not like them being everywhere I go. This all comes down to the fact that non dog lovers have no rights. Every place has been taken over by DOGS. Yea to the store owner!!!! It would be a better place to live if dog lovers helped those in need and let the dog be just that a DAWG!!!!


He DOES NOT have the right evidently, since he was forced to apologize

To Joanie

Hmmmm 150 seizures a day is not good enough for the dog to accompany the child anywhere? If you read the article properly you would see that this dog must be with this child 24/7. You don't even like dogs and now your an expert on service dogs and what this little girl needs?

Really you and Mr Bryant should go into business together. You sound like your afraid of dogs. I'm very sorry for you, but Service dogs do a world of good for people that in other cases would not be able to function normally. Maybe you should get a service dog to help you get over your fear of dogs. Either way its sad that you would speak like this about a little girl who is just trying to LIVE!!

If you read the article

If you read the article carefully, the seizures are no longer a problem for this girl. Please, if you're participating in a stupid flamewar on the internet, read the article a bit more carefully.

REF: Dog

I personally have spent a lot of money in that particular store over the years and I am ashamed to wear the clothes now knowing they were purchased by such a horrible Troll. First let me say to the bully he will get no more business from me, ever. Secondly there must be an attorney somewhere that can help Little Ms. Amanda get some satisfaction for being forcibly told to leave.

Western Store Owner

Maybe a fine attorney will contact the the owner of the Western Shop on Castle Hayne Road and teach him a little about the law, Citizens With Disabilities Act.
The store owners actions are appalling and decent people should avoid his business. By the way, aren't western clothes meant to be worn around farm animals?? duh!

"aren't western clothes meant to be worn around farm animals??

Yes they are meant to be worn around farm animals and any true westen clothes wearer will wear them around animals and if its for a social event..they will go straight from his disgusting shop and into the cleaners..I will order on line, which is cheaper anyway, Not another penny spent there for me..

Outright hateful

I have to agree with the majority of posters here. Even if the guy hates dogs and does not see a dog as a service animal, that should give no man the right to treat an innocent disabled child in the manner he chose. He should be sued and made an example out of and I hope he gets what's coming to him. He seems like something out of Nazi Germany.

Don't blame the employees

I understand that this situation has been very embarrassing and sad for this family and in my opinion this should never had happened, in saying that a lot of people have taken this story and ran with it. I'm not condoning such behavior by the store owner, but those who have called the Western shop and have left very dirty, derogatory messages to the other employees who work there should be ashamed. I know the other employees who work at the Western shop and they would never mistreat a customer of any kind. So for those of you who are unhappy with this unfortunate situation, do not take your angry out on those who were not involved with this situation. If you want to complain, I suggest doing to the one who is responsible for this sad event, not to the other employees who had no hand in it.

Also, this is not typical southern ignorance. Anyone who thinks this happened because the man is southern is more ignorant the the store owner.

Finally, almost all of the products in the Western shop are made in the USA. Next time, before you try to run someone down, get all of the facts first and then speak.

Who you associate with has a

Who you associate with has a lot to do with how you are judged and treated. If you choose to work for someone who is despised in the community, you will be despised too. Your only options are to either put up with it, or disassociate yourself with your employer.