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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.


Children w/Service Dogs - "ignorant southern stereotype "

It is hard to imagine how the child must have felt! Sad,hurt, puzzled just to name a few.
Is it hard to put on the shoes of someone less fortunate than oneself and see life as it has been dealt to them? It must be. Blindness abounds.

On another note, I am relieved to know this sort of behavior is Restricted to the Southern section of our Great United States. I plan to donate my cotton plantation to a local charity and move North or follow our friend "western shop=souther trash?". I am sure they have already packed,hopped a bus and are north of the Mason-Dixon Line by now.

Sorry to say but, this type

Sorry to say but, this type of mentallity is not restricted to the south. As it turns out, the shop owner is from the North......boy, that paints things in a different light dosen't it? Nevertheless, this man's business will be put to the test in the near future. I'll bet he's glad he stood up for his convections....or "laws" as he calls them.

So dosen't it feel good that short-sightedness and poor decision making is not exclusive to those born in the South.

By the did this foolish shop owner's actions create this North vs. South debate? just wondering......

I stand corrected! The shop

I stand corrected! The shop owner is not from the North! Instead, he hails from Leland!

The owner of the shop is

The owner of the shop is from WILMINGTON. Born and raised.

Service Dog

I’m appalled by the actions of the store owner and will make sure to tell everyone I know NOT to shop there!

Don't Shop Here

The owner of the store is correct to say that he can refuse service to anyone. It is a privately owned store and he is within his rights. However, there are common courtesis that should be followed and a right and wrong way to do things and it sounds like, even by his own admission, that he did it the wrong way. I would say just stop shopping there to anyone that believes he was wrong in the way he appraoched this. I am sure in these economic times, he can't afford to lose any customers.

while it may be true he can

while it may be true he can refuse service to anyone, HE MAY NOT TOSS A SERVICE DOG OUT OF HIS STORE>> and I quote:
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.

It is the Law

Fortunately Federal along with state law does apply to this situation and with his foolish statements to the media he will lose the suit and his insurance company if he has insurance will be paying the bill.

Having had a service dog in the past I have found this attitude to be prevalent in many areas of the country. I know of a cab driver up north who lost his medallion over the same issue.

Come o think of it I would be willing to bet that this fellow is not putting in the required space between shelving units either or accessibility issues.

I will not be shopping there any more.

No, the owner is wrong

No, the store owner is completely wrong about being able to refuse service to anyone. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans With Disabilities Act, a business that engages in commerce and offers a place of public accommodation (read "store") must be non-discriminatory. The famous Heart of Atlanta Motel case (see is the "case on point." There are protected classes of people and a person with disabilities -- even with a guide dog -- is a protected person under Federal and state law. The store owner's ignorance of the law is no excuse and no defense.

The Law....

You are correct...he cannot choose his customer and discriminate against anyone, but there is no law that states he has to serve anyone. What I mean is, he can refuse service to ANYONE that walks in....He can pick any day and just not let anyone at all into the store...not based on anything other than he does not want their business.

Western shop shame on you!

I was shocked by this news story last night.I watch the interview of the store representative and this lovely family. I can't believe someone could be that mean to this family with a special needs child.I am sure when this story get around "NO ONE WILL BE SHOPPING THERE NO MORE"!Susan,Amanda,Katie and Ellie God bless you and Please for all the special needs people out there take legal action on this.I am sure thousands of people with a heart will be behind your family 100%.To the Western Shop in Castle Hayne."SHAME ON YOU"!

my law

Since the owner of the store said it was his law to have them there or not then I say that my law is not to spend any money there.

Service dog banned from store

What a cold, hard hearted thing to do. Upon hearing this report, I would never patronize this business.


As the stepfather of a special needs son, I for one am appalled at this person's behavior. So, he does not want to admit someone in the store just because they have the service dog. His answer that not wanting the dog to get close to the clothes is absurd. How about trying on clothes that have been tried on by someone who has smoked? What is worse? I for one would not clothes that stinks like cigarette smoke. Where is your brain mister?????? I guess the possibility of the Justice Department paying you a visit for violation of the ADA act does not bother you. Hope you get one.
I doubt this dog smells since he is probably taken better care of and smells better than some of your customers.

While I can understand that

While I can understand that some people may not want to try on clothes with dog hair on them, it was very wrong how the employees went about the entire situation. The employees were extremely disrespectful to this woman. Talk about poor customer service. Gives me one more reason to not shop there.

That idiot!

that owner who threw the special needs child and her dog out of his store should be punched in the face!!I have a special needs child,and let me tell you that if That would have been me and my child,I would probably be in jail right now for assault!Make that loser pay and do not give him your business!

As a fellow parent of a

As a fellow parent of a child with cerebral palsy I too am "angry and disappointed" by the store spokesman's actions. Our child does not have a service dog, but we may get one for her in the future (she's only 22 months old). It is disheartening to know that as she gets older we can expect this type of neanderthal attitude. This family and specifically this young girl has faced enough trauma and adversity; going into a store should not add to their challenge. As a Wilmington resident I feel this story reflects poorly on the community.

I used to work for that guy,

I used to work for that guy, he is just a hateful old man, I am honestly shocked the store is still in business.

Best wishes to the family.

Ever Heard of the Americans With Disabilities Act?

The Western Store clearly violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The admission by the store's owner and claim that it was for health reasons is mere pretense and shows he doesn't live in this century. I know that I will never patronize his store (and I have horses) and will make sure that this WWAY story is conveyed to as many people as possible. I hope the state and federal agencies fine him and his store to the degree that closing the store is the best (only) option.

This not about North or South.....

Jerks come from both areas. This guy is obviously a jerk. I predict that he has multitudes of problems coming.

National exposure may be on the way. We will see how well "his law" works.

Dog & Child

I agree with all the comments, but the owner is an older man set in his ways. shouldnt we forgive him and let him know what the new laws
are. He has been in business for years and he is the only western store in wilmington. Our local business's are truly struggling due to the internet and the economy. So slap him on the hand but dont try to destroy what he has worked so hard all these years to get. and shame on the new's team for secretly recording him. You can tell the camera man was holding the camera down by his leg and pointing it up.

I agree Lisa that we don't

I agree Lisa that we don't want to destroy this man or the value that his store may bring to our local economy. However, tolerating his "set in the ways" beliefs and habits does not serve our community or country at large. It's that kind of attitude that can lead to dangerous consequences, i.e., Jim Crow laws.

I hope that this story can inform and that it can bring people together to build effective change. Destroying his business would also hurt the people that work there that need their salaries. Perhaps voicing our displeasure and penalizing him for any laws that he broke is enough. Hatred and vengeance only begats more of the same.

Reply to Western Store

We had the same thing happen on Topsail years ago when a pizza shop owner threw out a Blind Woman with Her seeing eye dog,well the Woman took him to Federal Court sued and won,He paid a hefty fine and I hope thats what this Family will do!I think a Protest in front of his store would be approximate for this case and I would drive there for it!

How do you know that the

How do you know that the owner of the store is from the south?He may be from Long Island
Did anybody ask him?As far as I can see this was bad judgement on both sides.If the dog was a seeing eye dog the owner would be wrong,otherwise the patrons were wrong.
Yes the little girl is cute,but being handicapped myself I can look at both sides with an open mind and find both parties at fault so give it a rest and drop it.

How Do You Know That The

Hey Threestroke,

You honestly believe that it was bad judgement on the part of the patrons? You said that if the dog was a seeing eye dog then the owner would be wrong otherwise the patrons were wrong. Those were your exact words. I have advice for you. Why don't you research the law before you speak so you won't sound quite so much like the stupid ignorant moron that you obviously are. It does not matter what kind of dog the animal in question was. It was a service dog and under the law, it is illegal to make a person utilizing a service animal leave a public establishment simply for that reason

Now on ABC news

AS of 5 AM this morning, this story is on ABC news website.

GREAT!!! I hope to see it on

GREAT!!! I hope to see it on all channels.