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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.


Sorry that happened, but....

.....if the remaining employees have any pride and ethics at all, go find another place to work. It's doubtful he'll have a handfull of customers left anyway after all of this publicity. That was a GRAVE mistake to have been made by him in such a small town!!! Buh-Bye!!!!

I just want to know where

I just want to know where you live, where you can afford to just up and leave cause your boss is a jerk. Your anger is misplaced or just maybe your brain.

Right here in good ol' Wilmington!

...that's where. Would you like a specific address?
You are mistaken, my friend. This isn't about MY anger, just read the other 100+ posts below if you want to see anger...and it isn't about having a JERK for a boss. It's about a boss that has made a total A$$ out of himself and his business. Unless he is independently wealthy, he will no longer be able to afford those employees, get it?
He will have ZERO customers. This was HIS call, he dug his own grave and he will pay the consequences. End of story. Buh-BYE, SeeYa, Hasta Luego!!!

Western Shop

I feel the need to put my 2 cents in on this one. My family has bought from the store many times in the past. I thought that a store was suppose to cater to the people who shop there and this man has not figured out that western people LOVE animals. I like what the man said about "shooting yourself in the foot". This man not only has done that but has let the whole Wilmington area and beyond know what a low life he is. Now that we know what he is "LEAVE HIM ALONE". Anyone who doesn't like babies and animals is not fit to shop with. My greatest hope for him is that he never has another peaceful night. I hope everytime he closes his eyes, he sees that childs face. You won't see my face there again(or any other part of me). AMEN!

Ignorant People

They point of commenting on this article was to give your own opinion about how this innocent child and her companion dog was treated not about how Northerners or Southerners act, everyone has their own personality and actions, it doesn't matter where they come from and by having a north vs. south dispute you are taking attention away from the real issue here...the inexcusable actions of ONE man.

Just lost a lot of $!

I'm a professional shopper and this is one store I WILL NEVER patronize with my clients' money! Hope to see a "Going Out of Business" sign on his building soon!

western shop jerk!

what a jerk!!! There is a facebook page hope everyone can join! BAN TOGETHER AGAINST WESTERN SHOP IN CASTLE HAYNE.


Glad this occurred before I decided to get my new 200.00 cowboy boots...this ignorant twit will never see any business from me. As a matter of fact...I definitely remember walking in his store one day with horse manure on my cowboy boots and horse hair all over my jeans. Good thing I didn't brush up against any of his clothing or he might have thrown me out!

Perhaps someone needs to go into his store and find out what merchandise he has and send this story to them. I'm SURE the horse industry that normally has dogs all around in their ads and such, will really appreciate their items being sold in this store with this owner's attitude.

Oh...and if you're allergic to dogs, then just make a wide berth around them. Normally people have to have contact with the dog anyway to cause any type of allergic reaction, except for the people where it is "all in their head". Cats are worse to be around if you have allergies anyway...and I can guarantee they've been in your yards and up around your house. I would just about bet that people with allergic reactions to animals don't have horses and don't frequent stores like this.

Yes I'm an animal lover...and if I had my way about it, I'd open a restaurant and let people bring their dogs in there. What's the difference between a well-behaved dog laying down under the table at their master's feet and someone that just left from petting a dog and going to a restaurant to eat without washing their hands or with dog hair all over their clothes?

This ignorant business owner needs to go read up on what he can and CANNOT do according to the laws of the United States...and if he doesn't like it, move out of the country. He can't MAKE his own laws!

I feel sorry for the little disabled girl and her family...what an incredibly uncomfortable situation to be put in. God bless her and her family and may justice be served to this disrespectful jerk! Karma is a B*tch with a capital B!

I will never spend a dime there!

This is truly a shame. Even if the dog smelled a good person would over look that for a short period of time to let that family shop.

The man obviously doesn't know the law, and I am sure a lawyer is on top of this as we all debate the issue.

Let's see how "His Law" stands up in court. He smelled a dog, I smell a settlement.

I have never shopped there, but will tell everyone I know not to do business there. I have ten friends, who have ten friends, who have ten friends.........


I think you people "YANKEES" are making a mountain out of a mole hill with this situation. I feel for the girl and her disabilities but if the mother of this child was with her at the store then what was the need for having the dog in the store. The mother needs to do her job as a mother and care for her child instead of having a dog do the work for her. If the owner does not want animals in HIS store then its his choice. I do and will continue to conduct my business with this man.

western shoppe owner

NO, it is NOT his choice.

>>What are the laws that apply to my business?

A: 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.

Know before you speak

A service dog can predict a sizure a mother can not.. any other questions Stanton.

You can not be MORE wrong

I can definitely tell you are from his part of the world cause your ignorance isn't seeping out - its POURING out. The mother's role and the dog's role are totally separate so how can anyone with an education beyond the 3rd grade think otherwise. Oh wait, you are FROM the south so maybe you didn't make it past the 3rd grade. The dog is a theraputic means for the girl to interact with her environment and their ability to go into ANY business is protected by Federal Law. He may be local but his products cross state lines which means they thus HE is subject to the laws of the land (Commerce Clause). What type of low-brow uneducated redneck throws a child who cannot function properly out of his store and worse yet, curses in front of her. Typical redneck southerner

Just a moment here...

I am a Wilmington native, and though I have never been in that shop (I'm more of a Brook's Brothers guy) - I know where it is. The actions of this establishment's owner are deplorable, not to mention illegal. This man has proven his relative intelligence by his stubbornness in light of the revelation of his noncompliance with the law, and his genuine lack of concern for public image and customer service.

For better or worse, he will probably loose his business, and I for one will not notice nor care about his passing - aside from a "serves him right" feeling once/if he closes his doors for good. It is also likely he will face some sort of government fine or civil court case that will *hopefully* make an example of him, and highlight this issue so that no one can soon claim ignorance of such laws and their necessity.

I think that my comments reflect the majority of the opinions posted on here.

Now, this is slightly off topic, but the genie is out of the bottle -but I do take issue with "CompanyLawyers" (and several other posters) blanket condemnation of southerners - as though we were all knuckle dragging inbreeders, and that the actions of this man are reflective of "our" collective thinking. I think that to let the actions of one jerk be viewed as a mirror for the rest of a society is rather harsh and just as cruel. The "redneck" southerner remarks and the insinuation that none of "us" can form coherent sentences or thoughts is a bit uncalled for.

Society and the media have definitely boxed us as such, but lets not forget that NC is one of the fastest growing states in the union, has a model higher education system, world class medical and legal schools, and a community college system second to none in the country. Yes, there are people here who conform to stereotypes - but the same can be said for the rest of the country. I don't judge everyone in the north by the kids I see on "Growing up Gotti" or "Jersey Shore." 'Rednecks' exist in every state and region - they just have different accents, manners of dress, and jobs (when they have them).

In any event, I felt the need to write this because I think that by inserting identity politics into such commentary we make our collective arguments and points about as eloquently as the Proprietor of the Western Store when he asked that family to leave. Such drivel is distracting from the main article, and irrelevant to the discussion of what locals should do to constructively express their disappointment with the shop, and how to best show their support for the family in question.

He's not from the South

I would like to clarify that this particular owner is not from the south. He is originally from Connecticut. So I would gladly appreciate if you would not judge us southern folks as all dumb ignorant people. We are not all that way, and for the record his actions have nothing to do with where he is from. What he did was just EVIL and an ass hole of a move. I'm a horse and dog owner, I always have mud,muck,manure on my boots and dog or horse hair on my clothes. It's our way of life we carry it with us everywhere. I'm not from the Wilmington area but I will not be making my way to his store to buy anything for what he did.

And Once again get out of here with this trash talk of the south, I hate you typical yankees and non-southerns assuming that everything that is said on tv shows and movies about the south is actually true, grow up get your head out your ass and take the time to look into people and where they're from. We're a lot better than you think, but obviously you are not you ignorant son-of-a-gun.

OUR Country

This is OUR Country and WE ALL make the rules. It seems that we elected a responsible group of Americans and they got together and made a law that enables equal rights to every one. To deny this would mean that you could deny rights to whites, blacks, hispanics (the legals), asians, christian, muslim, budhists, jewish, and all the other sorts of people and combinations of characteristics just because you feel like it. That is wrong. We are all equal.

Shame on YOU for saying the isn't doing her job. As a mother, teaching her child how to live in the world and be independent would meet part of that criteria. Is your mother still walking around behind you wiping your sorry @$$. If she is, poor her and she didn't do her job to teach YOU how to be independent. I dont know if you can quite grasp the concept of death, but her mother will not be there for her forever. By teaching the child the reliance of the service dog, she can enable her daughter to live without dependence on another human.

Mr. James, the mother can

Mr. James, the mother can not do everything for her child that is why the service dog is necessary. This may seem odd because you probably are either a) able bodied or b)have a strong desire to be independent.

Perhaps sometime in your life you found that you needed outside assistance. If this is true this is not a character flaw, that is part of being a human being. If you have never needed help from loved ones I can promise you that at some point you will require the need of others. Ironically it will be given to you and I hope for your sake you won't be judged the way you judge this family.

I am from the south and this

I am from the south and this has nothing to do with north versus south.The issue at hand is being misplaced by ignorant post attacking each other.People need to stay focused on the real issue of this child and her service dog.As far as the mother taking care of the child ,the dog detects seizures before they occur. As a mother of two I cannot detect when someone is going to have a seizure and neither can any other parent out there.Do not try to attack this womans capabilities of caring for her child,she should be commended for being the mother that she is and speaking out for her childs rights in this world.

Yankee or Not!!!

This is not a matter of North v South this is a comment on what is morally correct!!!!!
All of this about southern ignorance and Yankees is ridiculous. The point is about how horribly the man treated this child and her family.


I am from the south and you sir are as big an idiot as he is.

Great!!! You can be his ONLY customer!

And a great..."Thank you!", Stanton for admitting your fallen character and lack of ethics. No matter what, there will always be those like you that writhe deeply in a wagon wheel track, never able to rise above that.
Anyone with even a little piece of heart would near cry when they saw that poor little girl with a huge smile on her face while with her dog companion.

You and the store owner are considered the, "SCROOGES of the cowboy boot world".

Service dogs

To Ms. Susan Ivancevich, Amanda Ivancevich & Ellie:

On behalf of all the hard working horse owners in this community, I am sorry that you and your daughter had to be involved in this terrible incident.

I am extending an open invitation to you and Amanda and Ellie to come our farm, Lonesome Pine Stables in Rocky Point, and ride our horses. My good friend Bobby, the owner of Circle B Farm in Wallace extends the same invitation. We look forward to having you as our guests.

This is not an injustice.

To state it simply, way to go to everyone who is posting hateful comments... it is a privately owned business. Robert has a right to deny customers. He did NOT deny her because of her handicap, he denied her dog. The outcome would be 100% different if it was simply a guide dog and its master, but we are talking about a guide dog, the child, and the mother. Granted he might not have been 100% correct throwing the party out of his store, one must look at this situation from the other end of the spectrum. Why, if a daughter is with her mother, does the guide dog need to come into a store, and potentially ruin merchandise? I would understand completely if it was a single customer entering the store with a guide dog, but why was it absolutely necessary for the dog to enter if the mother was present? My point is,why wasn't the mother able to take her dog to the car, and walk back inside with the child? the child was born without a dog, and I am sure she would have been fine going approximately 30 minutes without the service animal, UNDER THE CARE OF HER MOTHER.

I have a service dog

I live in Virginia Beach VA and i am a Veteran. My dog is a hearing and balance dog and approved by VA (just like a site dog). This has happened to me i just say call the police please... they come and the store owner get a education on the American Disibalities Act.

you 2 are the same

He CAN NOT ask anyone to leave that has a service dog.. Look up the law ...

western shoppe owner

you are correct.

>>What are the laws that apply to my business?

A: 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.

Your ignorance is appalling and embarrassing

Service dogs are highly-trained creatures and better behaved than most people. They DO NOT run amock peeing and chewing on whatever is convenient, or whatever it is you think they might do in a store. Any dog that has not been trained to do otherwise wouldn't be suitable to trust a child's life with.

"Save the drama for your mama"

I'm sorry, did i say anything about the dog running a-muck? I really don't remember making that statement. My statement was that even though what he did was wrong, he believed he was protecting his store (which HE built from the ground up). I am glad to see so many uniformed citizens of Wilmington judging this man simply based on the reports of one person. This goes to show how great our American "civilization" is. He deserves to be fined, because what he did was wrong, but people can not make and educated opinion about this without knowing and criticizing both sides to this story. That is a fact. This is dramatized news at its best!

I have shopped at this store

I have shopped at this store and his behavior towards that dog is the way he treats certain customers, it was a matter of time before his point of veiws where out for all to judge..this is not a one time incident..for the dog maybe.He may have built the store from the ground up..but he has now torn it down from the gound up..

It amazes me how dumb some

It amazes me how dumb some people can be!!Ellie detects seizures before they occur and can alert the mother.A mother cannot do this ,so that thirty minutes without that dog could mean a life or death situation.Do not attack the mother because this man was completely wrong in what he did to that child.