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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.


Just FYI...

My name is William and I post under my name as well. I just want people to know that this guy is another William posting comments.

I know a little about grammar and punctuation when writing my comments.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I also know where the CAPS LOCK key is located.

Does anyone understand what

Does anyone understand what William is trying to say? I don't. Not only is he rambling on about something he obviously knows nothing about, but he is YELLING at us too!

Did you not read the article

Did you not read the article about the child having the surgery and having the correct paperwork. This was not just a family pet. Good try though to try to take some heat off the owner.

Wow, have you always been a

Wow, have you always been a complete idiot or did you recently suffer some sort of massive head trauma? What he did is AGAINST THE LAW pure & simple. You HAVE to accommodate the disabled no matter what. If the dog is allowed to be in a restaurant why not a clothing store? I believe a restaurant to be a much cleaner establishment than his store is, so if service dogs are allowed in a restaurant why not there??? The type of training that service dogs have to go through is quite amazing. It takes thousands of hours & a lot of money (most of which is donated). It's not something you can go on the internet & print out a bogus certificate. You are truly showing your ignorance. Congratulations on being voted today's "World's Biggest A**"!

The dog is able to detect

The dog is able to detect when the little girl is about to have seizure, and therefore 'proctor' and 'companion' do not do the dog justice. The dog is there not only to assist her, but potentially save her life. You should be ashamed.

to sircribb

Well, if you required the assistance of a service animal, I'm sure you'd be the first in line at the lawyer's office if this man or anyone else refused you entrance into a store. Having worked with disabled persons with service dogs in the past, I guarantee you that those dogs are in work mode when they are out. They are not companions along for a ride to town. If you required their services, you'd feel differently.

I would never set foot in this man's business and would be happy to participate in a boycott or campaign to see him held accountable (legally of course) for his assinine attitude and illegal actions regarding this little girl and her service dog coming into his store. What he did is against the law.

This dog helps Amanda walk,

This dog helps Amanda walk, pick things up, open doors, etc. She is a certified service dog, which by federal law is allowed to accompany its' owners anywhere open to the public, including stores and restaurants.

A few years ago, a district court judge in Wake County kicked someone out of her courtroom because they had a service dog. The judge was removed from the bench by the state supreme court. Discriminating against people with disabilites is taken very seriously.

You may want to check out

You may want to check out the brief video on this board too. You will find that this little girl has suffered much in her young life. The video also shows very recognizable service dog credentials.... I don't really think that we are looking at a feigned family pet here.

The family HAD the

The family HAD the credentials for the dog and the owner refused to look at them. Why not read the article before making a comment that makes it clear you did not bother.


Mr. Bryant says his law is he doesn't have to let anyone into his store; Uncle Sam says it's discriminitation if he do! Maybe if the Fed's parked a car on the side of the road and didn't allow anyone into the parking lot or the business, he'd change his mind! Service dogs superceed anyone's idiotogoly!

" protector and a companion

" protector and a companion " Isnt that we all depend on our dogs for? The business owner has the right to ask anyone to leave for any reason. Im sure he'd respond differently if he saw the disabled person physically depending on the creture such as in the case of a seeing-eye-dog. Sometimes familes mask there family pets as work dogs to get around rules, thats unfortuante becasuse this is the situation it leads too.
I wish both parties good luck.


As one of the professionals personally responsible for placing this particular Service Dog with this family, I am sure you can call imagine how I feel about this completely ILLEGAL situation. I just wanted to take this opportunity to clarify that this family in NO WAY "masked" a family pet - who could never behave or perform in the way ELLIE or any Service Dog does - this is a certified, insured, Service Dog with over 1500 hours of training. Just because one does not APPEAR to "physically depend" on a dog does not give anyone the right or privilege to assume that they know about the person, their disabilities, or the potentially life-saving ways a Service Dog interacts with them. These laws exist for a reason, and I wish that those of you who were previously unaware of these dogs, their talents, and their RIGHTS take this as a very educational experience, rather than sharing opinions. This case is about FACTS...what a Service Dog IS, and the LAWS that govern their use.

A Thank You.....

from one professional, to another!! I very much appreciate you writing in and stating the facts, clearly & in detail!! I am a retired & disabled nurse and although I do not at this time need a service dog, it is not inconceivable, given my disease & my injuries, that I might need one in the future! This man was clearly in violation of the law & also of common decency towards another human being! I get sick of all of the uninformed & uneducated comments that are being made. The general public needs to take the time to learn about such things before spouting off about rights of the owner, etc!! I, myself, have been appalled by much of the behavior that I have witnessed & that I have been on the receiving end of since becoming disabled!! People have been everything from impatient to downright pushy & rude, and often very hurtful in the comments & stares!! Do people think that because we have lost the use of our limbs that we have lost our sight, hearing & feelings also? Anyway, I don't want to turn this into a bitch-fest, I just want to thank you for the wonderful work that you do & for speaking up in defense of your client & to attempt to educate a less the informed public!!


Did the owner of the shop really care? No. Did he catch the smell of his products when he open the boxes from CHINA. I sure that is where most of his store is import from right down the labels that are on his products.. I know there has been a lot of talking about this story and how wrong or right it is. The bottom line is customers, and customer service all shapes, colors, sizes. I really think this store has hurt its self. And that is bad in this day and time.

I have shopped there in the

I have shopped there in the past, but if I would have known how ignorant he was I would have never bought anything, this is beyond unacceptable you dont treat anyone that way, i have a cousin who is disabled and if anyone were to disrespect him it would not be taken lightly, If I were the parents I would take legal action. And to the people talking about this being a Southern Thing, you have no idea what you are talking about, Southern people were BORN & RAISED to respect others. I was born and raised here in the South & I am proud to say I am.


I will never...ever shop here again!

Service Dog

I hope the owner of this store gets everything he has coming to him. Refusing service to the disabled and maybe worse the shabby treatment of not only a child but a disabled child is inexcusable behavior. He shouldn’t expect my patronage in the future.

I fail to see how the behavior of this cretin has anything to do with being from the north or the south. I have heard he is from CT so I guess he can’t be an ignorant southerner. It would seem that the idiots that found it necessary to insult others that might have grown up in a different part of the country than they might have, are cut from the same cloth as the business owner. Ignorance and intolerance knows no boundaries and that includes the Mason Dixon. I am a “Southerner” that married a “Yankee,” I lived in Connecticut for over 20 years before returning home to ILM. Having traveled all over the US and the world, I can safely say that people are people. Most are kind, caring and generous and a small few are mean, intolerant and contemptible. Where they live or where they grew up has nothing to do with it.

When I was living in Ct, I embraced the local traditions and the people that were native to the area. It was a wonderful place with great people. I wonder why people would come to ILM and then hold the people and culture of the area in contempt? If where you came from was such a utopia and the people so wonderful, why did you leave?

People can be ignorant.

People can be ignorant. Obviously, this Western Wear Store owner falls in that catagory. Ignorance of The LAW however, is not an excuse for violating it. As for a few of the eually ignorant comments on here, the civil war is over partners, let's not rehash it by saying Yankee this and Southern that! Also, for the few that are soo worried about a dog shed as well and that includes you. Where do you think household dust comes from?? We all try on clothes at stores that someone else may have just had on(think about that) I've seen the lipstick stains & hair on 'NEW" clothes, so get over your phobia on that one! I've lived in Wilmington for 13 years, always loved going in the surf shops that had the owners own pet dogs walking awesome and what about the antique store on front street, I've seen a real live tabby cat many times in the window. Those are the types of stores that draw me in. You would sorta expect a'Western Wear" shop to have a dog wearing a bandana greeting you. Oh well, alot of that type of clothing can be bought on-line and at a more reasonable price anyway. Have a good day & many blessings for the child who will never forget this experience.


Absolutely shameful! It's hard to believe we have people like this in our community.


So I don't necessarily disagree with the man that he should be able to refuse any customer to come into his store, including those with service dogs. However, that is NOT the case, that is illegal. Furthermore it amazes me that a business owner would actually be stupid enough to do this. Does he not have enough to worry about in a a down economy that he has to make trouble with a SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD??? He doesn't think people will talk and this kind of thing would be picked up by the news? He might as well boil some live puppies and open a Cannibal Meat Stand in the front...just pure idiocy and incredibly bad business sense!


I was born and raised in New York, and I would never treat anyone in that way! My own Godson is a special needs child, and I can't believe that someone would have the audicity to behave that way. That man needs to locked up, and patrons need to return their merchandise and stay away from the small minded business!



You are stupid

Why are you risking going to jail to damage goods in this mans store. For Pete's sake,he kicked a dog out of his store, He didn't kill anyone. You people need to find something else to do with your time.

I cannot believe that in

I cannot believe that in todays society we still have to deal with such ignorance. This man, to say the very least, isnt the sharpest tool in the shed. He should be THANKFUL that in todays economy he even HAS a customer walking into his store. I am 100% for supporting local business owners, but this store has now fallen to the wayside for me. I hope this story doesnt just "go away" and that the owner is smart enough to issue an apology although it is extremely unlikely since he actually did such an idiotic thing. Wilmington is not so large and word of mouth can make you or break you-you my friend most assuredly just broke yourself.


Good job really shot yourself this time. As dirty as some of the people are that come in your store and you are worried about a service dog....sad man.

I used to work at the

I used to work at the Western Shop. I do not think that the owner or other employees are hateful or did I ever see them be rude to any patrons. I am not defending nor agreeing with his actions, but I do know that the owner does not use profanity and the chances of him saying "blank" in a sentence is very slim. I also do not know the family by name, if I see them maybe, but rememeber that there are 2 sides to every story. There could be another part to the story that the community doesn't know about. We are not the ones to judge.

I agree. I also know Mr.

I agree. I also know Mr. Bryant and I have a hard time believing that he would use profanity. We all know that people pick and choose things in a conversation to use them to their advantage. I have never seen him or his employees be rude to anyone. The family could have easily taken the dog outside for a few minutes while they looked around. Everyone is acting as if He said something personal to the child. He in no way was cruel to the little girl. He simply did not want the dog in his store. I thnk the whole situation could have been handled differently by all parties involved.

Could have been handled differently

You are right. It could have been handled differently. The owner could have complied with the law instead of breaking it.

The problem with your theory

The problem with your theory is that the owner told his side of the story too - on camera. He admitted kicking them out, and said "that's my law." He showed his true colors to the whole community. I think we have all the information we need. And we will judge, by simply not shopping there.

Stupid *astard

I hope he loses his *ss and his business goes down like a sinking ship. I'll be sure to spread the word. Hope he has a heafty retirement fund in place because he will be needing it sooner than he thinks!!!