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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.



I agree with the owner. I have allergies to dogs and don't want to shop where I will get congested and be sneezing from dog hair. Also, if they except to bring a work dog in they should make sure it is well groomed (bathed and brushed). This child is not the only one with handicaps. Allergies are handicaps, too.

I agree. I have a friend

I agree. I have a friend with a life threatening cat allergy and a cousin with a life threatening, well, animal allergy. I would certainly hope that people would try to protect him from animals, no matter how important they may be to others. I understand that the dog is necessary for the child, but what could save her life might just end someone else's.

Allergies are handicaps?!?! Get Real!

You Idiot!
Apparently you need to go back to school and learn what exactly a handicap is.
I am a disabled young lady and I have a service dog. My disability causes such extreme pain that I take opiods regularly. Live a week in my shoes then tell me that allergies are a handicap.
Oh, by the way I have allergies too and they have nothing to do with my disability.

re: "Allergies are handicaps, too."

"Allergies are handicaps, too."
You have got to be kidding me! I have allergies AND a 28 year old Daughter with the mind of a 2 year old. (Doctor neglect)SHE is handicap. Next thing you know someone will be trying to sue God because we have to deal with pollen. The man was very wrong, plain and simple.


Allergies as a handicap compared to this child

That is why they make

That is why they make medication for people with allergies. This girl had to have half of her brain removed! Shame on you for even relating allergies to being handicapped!

I have seasonal allergies,

I have seasonal allergies, are you saying that I should tell the flowers to stop blooming. Besides I'm pretty sure if you had allergies to pet hair you wouldn't be shopping at a store for western wear (i.e. riding horses). It's just ignorant to not be on the side of a little girl trying to live a normal life.


I used to have bad allergies....but what I have found is if you eat a teaspoon of local honey each day when you wake up, your body gets used to and tolerates the pollen etc outside and your signs if allergies will disappear really works....but it has to be local honey to your area...


I am a special education teacher and Ellie frequently visits my classroom. She is cleaner and better groomed than a lot of people I know. Saying that she smelled was just another attempt by this ignorant store owner to justify his deplorable actions.

Get a life

Get A Life. Stay home off the roads.

He is soooo going to jail.

Bryant: "My law says no dogs in my store."
Judge: "My law says you are going to jail. See you in 20!"

If he kicks out more service dogs, maybe he can get consecutive sentences and get this stretched out for the whole summer.


I have known this family for several years through the local horse show circuit and I do not think you will ever meet a sweeter child and her companion Ellie.I am very glad to see action being taken against this store owner.We have shopped this store many many times but will never again set foot in there ,we will all be shopping out of town because of this.Susan,Amanda,Katie and Ellie we are proud to stand behind you,we are so sorry you were treated this way and hope the Western Shop is held accountable.See you at the show.We will be beside you as usual.

How narrow minded and ignorant can one man be?

The owner of the Western Shop should be ashamed of himself! "The dog does nothing for the child's welfare.." How would such a ignorant person know that? Is he aware of the usefullness of service animals? I hope and pray no one in his family ever needs a service animal!
I doubt seriously the dog smeeled as the owner of the store charges, but his attitude does stink! I hope his customers find other places to shop and God bless that little girl!

Educational Level

Well, it looks Bryant is showing his educational leveland tolerance level to the fullest. He should be charged by the Justice Department. What if that was him who needed the dog? Dog would probably bite him just for spite!
Hope he feels the pinch in the pocketbook SOON because no one should shop in his shop and go elsewhere.


This man is clearly one of the most ignorant people I've ever had to misfortune of encountering. The lawyer said it best- as service animal is an extension of that person just like a wheelchair, a cane, or any other kind of device used to assist a person with a disability. I would not normally support immediately taking legal action against store owners because honestly, most people aren't aware of what a vital role service dogs play in the lives of people with disabilities, but its clear from this man's sound bite that he is not only ignorant, but he isn't willing to learn. You can't tell someone who can't walk that THEY can come in the store, but they have to leave the wheelchair outside because it might leave tire treads on the carpet. Service animals are incredibly well behaved. They've gone through years of training to behave in public settings. This man's merchandise was in no way in jeopardy any more so than if a woman with long hair entered the store! I believe he deserves 20 days in jail for his stupidity and I believe that we should make a point to not buy from this fool from this point on. Thanks WWAY for finding this story and exposing this man for what he is to the public.

Karma comes back

This business owner is a total jerk and does not deserve to own a business here in America!!!! I would NEVER EVER visit his business and buy anything!!!

You liberals

Too much government. I love my dogs, but that is "HIS" business. He should be able to tell you to go to hell if he wants to. All you Wilmington people think about is what "YOU" want. There were ways to shop there without the dog. You just want your way. CRYBABIES....Call the law or get your lawyer or get your support group.....Call Julia somebody..

Do some homework

When you open a retail establishment you are offering an implicit invitation to the general public to walk through your door. As such you must either adhere to the laws that govern how you treat people or risk legal action. Just as he could not ask someone to leave based on their race, religion or national origin we also have laws that cover those who are living with disabilities. The same laws that mandate handicapped parking spaces also cover service animals. It has nothing to do with citizens of Wilmington, it has everything to do with common decency. This guy is suffering from an extreme case of cranio-rectal inversion and will now face the consequences of his ignorance. It's that simple. If he doesn't want to serve the general public then he needs to operate a members-only club and see how that works for him.

dog not allowed

to anybody who thinks service animals are just a dog needs to learn a few things. They help the person who they're guiding. It can sense when the person is getting ready to have a seisure and alert others to the person. I feel sorry for the store owner, in this slack economy, but his business will be down at least 65% if not more

get a civics book

You're very mistaken. I'm certainly not a leftist (liberal is a hi-jacked word). Mr. Bryant doesn't own the road that feeds his store..we do, Mr. Bryant doesn't own the power lines to his store..we do, Mr. Bryant doesn't own the water lines to his store..we do. Also, does he "own" the store, or is he still paying the bank? Again, does he own the land that the store is resting on,or does the bank? Be careful assuming that a place of business is the same as a homestead, its not. Also, I wonder if Stetson, Tony Llama Boots,Justin Boots etc.. is happy that this moron is peddling their brands.

Serve then work !!!

After he serves this 20 days make him work for at least 1 year with the training of service dogs..

Then he just might open his ( CLOSED ) mind.

With the girl's mother being

With the girl's mother being with her, I don't see why the dog couldn't stay in the car since they were just going inside a clothing store. If it was an individual that had nobody else with them, then I can see where the service dog would be needed. I don't think the dog is critical for the safety of a 5 year old in a stroller inside a western store.

I used to work in a retail store while in college, and over about 4 years, I remember having to clean up behind these "service" dogs about a half-dozen times because they would urinate or defecate in the middle of the store. Often, the owners would stop to let them finish, then just walk off. It's absolutely disgusting, unsanitary and downright irresponsible.

Now I know that not all service dog owners are like this, but there are some out there. I think this is one of those circumstances where the woman knew that there was a "no pets" policy and is just trying to stir up trouble. While he had no right to kick them out, I can see where he's coming from. I think that most of the people have never had the experience from being cussed out by a customer who stepped in (service) dog crap and being yelled at by a manager, all while having to clean it up.

Again, the owner had no right to kick them out and I'm not trying to defend him, but I'm sure he'll pay dearly for it. Potential loss of freedom, loss of his store, probably a law suit and not to mention all the public ridicule. Everyone seems willing to crucify him, but remember, while you'll be happy to see him go out of business, he'll just collect unemployment, which is your and my tax money.

I call B.S. on this.

I call B.S. on this. Service dogs are highly trained animals. I don't for a second think that a service dog would use the bathroom indoors. You expect us to beleive that these dogs, with all their specialized training, haven't been housebroken? Maybe someone's pet, but not a service dog.

I worked in retail for about 10 years. Not once did someone's pet (much less a service dog) use the bathroom in one of the stores where I worked. Yet, in your 4 years of college, you had it happen a half dozen times, all with service dogs? I doubt it. You don't have to make up lies, or exaggerate, to voice your opinion.


Business owners do not collect unemployment. They just pay the tax.


yes. business owners can collect unemployment. If they write themselves a pay check and the business pays unemployment tax, they can get the unemployment. Now, it's up to the unemployment people to decide if they are allowed to collect based on the circumstances as to why they are trying to collect.

I think the point is one day

I think the point is one day this girl is going to grow up and it would be nice if she could have some independence, and the more she trains with her dog and the more she is used to people accepting her dissability and the use of her dog the more normalcy she will feal!



Smart move

So you were concerned that the dog would rub against some items making those possibly unable to sell. Well now you are looking at ALL your goods possibly collecting dust. You seem to of alienated your customer base.
I do believe also that you should face criminal charges for your behavior. Totally shameful act.

jail time

Hope he gets more then 20 days and while he is in there board up his store!

Does the store owner not

Does the store owner not have the right to refuse services to anyone? Or is it just the disabled that has this law?