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ONLY ON 3: Store owner could face jail for kicking out service dog

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Store owner could face jail for kicking out service dog

WILMINGTON, NC - As we first told you last night at 11, a little girl and her mother were kicked out of the Western Wear store in Castle Hayne because they brought a service dog in with them. Today the mother told us she's decided to take legal action.

Some may think because Robert Bryant owns his store, he has every right to refuse service to whomever he chooses. Not so says the American with Disabilities Act. Now he could be looking at spending up to 20 days in jail.

Bryant is adamant about pets in his store, even service animals.
"I'm gonna treat everybody that walks in my door the same way," he told WWAY. "I asked the lady, I said 'Ma'am, there's a sign up that says no dogs allowed. No pets allowed.' That oughta be enough."

Problem is, that wasn't enough, because Ellie is a service dog and helps five-year-old Amanda Ivancevich navigate through life. Amanda had a stroke before she was born then had seizures, so doctors removed half of her brain to stop them. She also has cerebral palsy. But her mom Susan wants Amanda to live as much a normal life as she can with Ellie's help.

"She has a legal right to be in any business," Susan Ivancevich. "She's been in John Hopkins, the number one hospital in the world. She's been in dining establishments, she's been in grocery stores, she's been all over the place, and so she has that legal right and to not allow her to go in is discrimination against the disabled."

"The dog is, in a sense, an extension of the child," attorney Sue Rielly said. "He does things for her that she cannot do by herself."

Rielly is a former lawyer for the Department of Justice's Disability Rights Section. By federal law, service dogs are not pets. Any place open to the public like Bryant's Western Wear shop, must allow them in.

"In this case, most businesses don't allow animals in their stores," Rielly said, "but the law says make a reasonable modification to that policy. So people with disabilities, who use animals to help them see, or pick things up, or tell them they're going to have a seizure actually can come in and access your store."

Something Bryant apparently refused to do Monday because, he said, the dog smelled, and he didn't want dog hair on his merchandise.

"If she wanted to bring the child in here and shop, fine," Bryant said. "I have no problem with that, but she didn't have to have that dog with her. If you spill drinks on my clothes, I can't sell them. A dog brushes up against them, I can't sell them. I'm not gonna have it. As far as that dog walking in here to maintain that child's welfare, it doesn't."

There are only two instances when you can kick a service animal out of a public place: If it's acting up, or if it poses a threat to others around it.

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.


Everyone isnt a dog lover

Wake up everyone..everyone is not a dog lover and because he put his own HUMAN feelings over a dog..he should be crucified..but I guess we are talking about the same people who will kiss a dog after they lick their behind!!!!

His best bet

Head down to the zoo on Carolina Beach Road. Determine which of the Big Cats has gone the longest between meals. Open the cage; walk in; close the cage; and smear himself with A-1.

Plan B would be to walk the high wire, at the Circus next week, without a net. First though, he should plant some spears, point up, below the wire.

Option C would be to stand in front of the plane when the Governor is about to take off on another of her junkets to promote NC. Be certain, though, to stand in front of one of the props.

It's probably too late for him to sell the business.

Option D

or we could use Option D which a real christian would do and that would be to move on and want to put someone in a cage to get eaten alive over a mistake he made??...You need prayer!!!

i have a service dog.

if that was me i would be very upset over how that man treated me to the point of calling the cops. if you are denied acess then you should call the cope because we have every right to go into a store with my service dog.
the cops mighty get the idea through that old jerks thick head.

service dogs

Getting the cops to enforce service dog laws is b.s. they will not do it i've tried. I have a service dog for early onset parkinsons. The police will enforce criminal law not civil law, you need a lawyer to enforce it. Don't count on the police they WILL NOT help. The law is a beautiful thing too bad no one will enforce it.

Service Dogs

You don't call the local police because they have no jurisdiction over that law. You should call the local FBI office because they CAN and DO enforce federal law.

Service Dog

I feel bad about the service dog issue but obviously the family wants financial restitution for him being rude or whatever he was. That's what this world is all about isn't it? She stated that she accepted his apology BUT apparently she wanted him crucified publicly and intended to go after him otherwise you would never have heard about this. It is all about money and who we can ruin in the process. I don't even know this man but I had a family member with cerebral palsy too. We are really teaching our children something aren't we? Let's see who we can go after next week. It is a law to use headlights and wipers when it is raining. That's perfect. I will start taking down license plate numbers to turn in to the sheriff's office. Are any of you these lawbreakers? You are endangering my life and I need retribution.


Did you stop to think that maybe this Mom is trying to make things easier for Mom's like you, who have disabled children, to walk into any establishment and receive the same courtesies as any other patron? Maybe she's not just thinking about herself, but other disabled children also. How could she accomplish that? By affecting a store owner's wallet, so he won't be tempted to do the same thing to another disabled child. Considering you have a disabled child yourself, you should be thanking her, instead of condemning her.

You bit off more than you

You bit off more than you can chew this time old boy. If you were in that little girl's position maybe you would understand the circumstance instead of being a crouchy old man.

He has a legitimate

He has a legitimate reason... he says the dog smelled & if it brushed up against the clothes he couldn't sell them... rightly so! You have to protect unsuspecting shoppers with allegeries to pet dander, etc...


its like this, your unsuspecting shoppers have no idea what was in a store prior to them...there are alot of service dogs, how about protecting me from their nasty tissues and snezzing huh????????????

I personally hope this guy

I personally hope this guy is prosecuted to the full extent of the law, he not only broke the law he discrimanated against a disabled child. He should be forced out of business and never allowed to own a business in the future. He is about the lowest I have heard of lately.

Federal Court

Is where one goes to file bankruptcy. Mr. Bryant may be well on his way. I hope no one in this town will ever step foot in that store. This story is heartbreaking to say the least. Time for Mr. Bryant to go to the house. Bye Bye..................

Kicked Out Service Dog

The store owner broke the law and should be punished with more than 20 days in jail. The law states that service dogs are allowed to be with their owners and there is no age limit for the owner. It does not matter if the mother was with the child. The child has a service dog and it is to be allowed in where the child is. People with allergies can take medicine to help ease their allergies and it is their responsibility to take medicine before going anywhere. This disabled child doesn't have to leave her dog outside any place it is allowed. I'm allergic to wool, but I don't require wool products to be removed from people I am around or stores I visit-I simply stay away from the wool. If you are allergic to a service animal in a store, then simply stay away from it or leave the store. The person with the service animal is worse off than the allergic person. It is the allergic person who should be considerate in this case, not the one with the service animal.


The owner was a little harsh, OK maybe overboard, but in his defense the child is not independent. Service animals are to help those who are able to some daily activities themselves. This is why children have parents. The mother could have easily taken care and watched the child instead of the dog monitoring the child. Granted those with service animals that are independent need to make a case here as well but lets face it, store owners and those with animals need to practice some common sense and thoughtfulness. All of us have to live in this world so lets try to live peacefully and respectfully. It soulnds like the owner had a problem with the dog and not the child and the mother is feeling that it is a personal attack on the child. Some would argue the oppisite, depends on your perspective i guess. Let us pray for the child and not forget that she has harder battles in life to face than this.

Seizure Service Dogs

The dog is doing something the mother cannot: detect the oncoming seizures. This then allows the mother to get the child into a safe position BEFORE the seizure occurs. THIS is why the dog is to be with the child at all times.

My guess is that in this

My guess is that in this case the dog is not only to help the child but also alert her and her mother that she is about to have a seizure. In this case, you should not separate them. I'm sure that all businesses feel the same about animals in their establishments. However, they are there to help those that need them and they have been protected by law and that means he should let them in. He doesn't have a choice.


Actually, the service animal should be with the child from an early age if the need is there. This allows for the child to know the animal and the animal to know the child. This will strengthen the bond for the reliance that takes place. Also, what happens when the child is alone at home and needs help, but the parent may not be close, THAT is why the animal is there, to assist. Are you that narrow that you cannot see these people are trying to build a future for their child.

I have no sympathy, empathy, or any other feelings for this shop owner. It seems that he and his business are like a horse with a broken leg, we may have to put it down.

reverse boycott

Perhaps,, just perhaps what if on a certain day ,, say four or five service dogs were to decide to visit and shop at Mr Bryant's Western Shop,, reckon he would get the point ,, Am sorry my child does not have a service dog, but she is handicapped. Mr Bryant,, shame on you.. hope it does come back to haunt you,,, but,, hey,, I am just saying,,,

Reverse Boycott

Hey, just let me know when - I know a place where I can get lots of people with service animals to go - and I can bring my wonderful (and very very hairy) collie service dog.

This guy doesn't have a clue. Needing a service dog because one is disabled lets a person live - not even better, but just LIVE!

To wish him an ailment that would need a service dog is kinda nasty - but I sure wish he could walk a day in my shoes or this girl's shoes - or even her mother's shoes.

I, too, got tossed out of a store because of my service dog and the Wilmington Police said I had no rights and they could refuse service to anyone. Someone needs to education a whole lotta people!

Service Dog Access

You do NOT call the local police...they are usually ignorant of the law. You call the FBI who WILL enforce the law. You can also call the Department of Justice. Try carrying a card with the law written on it, along with the possible punishment they could receive by denying you access. THAT might get them to think twice!

Robert Bryant

Robert Bryant I hope you get the 20 years. You have no right to disreguard Federal laws.

What a jerk!

Robert Bryant is a jerk and obviously ignorant of the laws he has to abide by as a business owner. Does he make every customer lint-roll their clothes before they come in? Because I bet at least half of them have pet hair stuck to their clothing. Does he ask every customer if they showered that morning to make sure they don't stink up his store? No, he doesn't! This is discrimination, plain and simple. I hope he goes to jail and pays a fine! When the first article came out, many commentators spoke about boycotting his store. I sure hope they do!


This guy is obviously an ignorant a$$hole.

2,000 hrs Community Service with Service Dogs

After he is found guilty in criminal court and serves 20 days in jail....I think the judge should give him 2,000 hours community service with Service Dogs for handicap children (make him brush the dogs and scoop the poop).

And you know the guys in jail don't care too much for people that mistreat little girls. Good luck hanging out with Bubba for 20 days!


Time to pay the piper there Robert!

What a Jacka**

You know something Mr. Bryant...and I hope you read this...if it were me and my child in there, I would be the one going to jail becasue I would have beat your a** in your own store. I hope this family takes you for every dime you have you friggin ignorant, inconsiderate, disrespectful redneck.

I will never shop in this

I will never shop in this store. I cannot believe that anyone would be so inconsiderate and discrimatory to a young child who needs help.

store owner

I'm all about limited govt. & private ownership, but this guy is way over the line. We learn from our painful mistakes, the legal system needs to do their job & make this mistake a painful lesson for Mr. Bryant.

time and service

After he does his 20 days, he should also be made to work for 1 year with service dogs. Then maybe he'll understand. Or in his case maybe not. But it's worth a try