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FIRST ON 3: Store owner who kicked out service dog apologizes

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Store owner who kicked out service dog apologizes

It's been two days since we first told you about Robert Bryant, who owns a western wear shop in Castle Hayne. Monday, he kicked out a service dog that helps a 5-year-old girl who has cerebral palsy, because he said he had a strict "no pets" policy.

Today he talked with WWAY's Hailey Winslow and apologized for his decision.

"Honey, I try to treat everybody who comes through my door with respect and honor," says Western Shop Owner Robert Bryant. But the Ivancevich family didn't feel respected.

Robert Bryant kicked five-year old Amanda and her service dog "ELLIE" out of his Western Shop Monday. It was the first time Amanda had been out of the house in a year. She has cerebral palsy, and is missing the left side of her brain. She relies on "Ellie" to get her through the day.

Bryant talked with me on camera about the story, and what he did earlier this week.

"I had no intentions of offending these people, and I apologize if I have," says Bryant.

Bryant says he asked them to leave because he has a strict "no pets" policy, that "ELLIE" smelled, and he didn't want her getting dog hair on the merchandise.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a service animal is not a pet, and a business owner can only kick the dog out if it poses a threat to others.

Bryant says he didn't know about the law. "I was not aware that there was a law that required me to let an animal into my store. I've got horses that i think a lot of, I'm not going to ride my horse through the door."

President of Carolina Canines for Service Rick Hairston says this isn't the first time Bryant has kicked out a service dog. "I know of several, beyond that, how many we don't know about is probably more of an issue," says Hairston.

Bryant contends though, he treats everyone fairly. "I don't know that I've done anything wrong. But I don't treat people mean, I don't."

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.


Time to Move On Toward Healing

My name is Susan Ivancevich, and I am the mother of Amanda, the little girl in the story. Amanda’s service dog, ELLIE, was provided to her by the paws4people foundation, an organization that provides service dogs primarily to disabled children and veterans. ELLIE was trained in a federal women’s prison, and she knows over 100 commands, including such things as turning on and off lights, opening doors, getting the phone, retrieving seizure medicines, etc. She helps Amanda with everything from mobility assistance to seizure detection and treatment. ELLIE also regularly does therapy visits with local school children and is bathed and groomed frequently.
Our intent in going to the Western Shop on Monday was to buy a bit for our horse. I would have much preferred to have gone in the store, not experienced this situation, and been able to enjoy riding our horses this week. I was very irritated after the incident and, as a result, posted a message on my Facebook account expressing my displeasure (I did not name Mr. Bryant’s business). At that point, through Facebook contacts, I agreed to be interviewed by the media, and the story took off.
I watched Mr. Bryant’s apology tonight on the news, and I believe he is sorry for his actions. This situation has been very stressful for my family and I am sure for Mr. Bryant’s family as well. In response to Mr. Bryant’s apology, I have offered (through a reporter who agreed to contact Mr. Bryant on my behalf) to meet him tomorrow to discuss the situation, and have him meet ELLIE and Amanda in a more positive setting, accept his personal apology if he chooses to do so, and put this behind us so that we can move on toward healing. I have been overwhelmed by and am very thankful for the wonderful support of the community. I believe the positive outcome from this story will be that more people will understand the amazing things that service dogs can do for others so that similar situations do not happen in the future. I hope that we can heal as a community and move forward to making the Wilmington area an even more wonderful place to live.

Judgement! (Pray)

I saw all of the videos about Robert Bryant. I heard his statements also. He is only sorry because he is under everybodys judgement, and the news is nationwide (even on youtube). God may have forgiven him, but in the Bible Jesus said who ever harms a child its better for him to never have been born. Yet he said he is a christain. He better get on his knees and pray as hard as Jesus did in the garden of gethsemane. Praying that the childs mother will forgive him and not sue him.

got to love the forgiveness

I know this man was wrong in his choice, he knows he is wrong now, but everyone is sitting back and throwing stones. Why not forgive the old man and feel better about yourself. If you've been in this world as long as this guy has, you'd probably be bitter too.
It's not like he used a taser on this girl and dog. The little girl wont remember and I doubt the dog will, but all of you with hard hearts will, right? Now ask yourself............are you in the right to judge, cowboy?

Heres a thought...

Hey Mr. Bryant,

I heard of this story while in Florida, it made me sick. ABC News... Wow,,, you screwd up!!! It was nothing for me to drop $200 to $300 in your store on a Saturday afternoon. You can bet I WON'T be back.

In an effort to make amends, "if it's not too late" try giving the family a $500.00 gift certificate "in public", perhaps the people that shop at your store including myself may come back.I want to know that you are sincere, your words tonite did not make a believer out of me. This is not pretty. I can't begin to imagine how the mother of this child felt that day, they may not even want your certificate, and I may not change my mind or the minds of others. For the precious little one that was done wrong by you, I hope she does not realize the pain you have caused, she has enough to deal with in her everyday life without being thrown out of your store and being treated with such disrespect.

To the family, I feel your pain and am truly sorry for the way you were treated.

Even if it were not the law,

Even if it were not the law, asking a disabled child and her service dog to leave your place of business was a disgusting, inhuman thing to do. Man's inhumanity to man in its purest form. My guess is he is only apologizing because he fears a lawsuit, jail and loss of his business. I doubt if the apology comes from the heart.

fools of new hanover county

I am embarrassed and ashamed of my entire county. I never realized how horrible you people really are. If that man didn't want a dog in his store to ruin his clothing,then he should have every right to deny them. Go shop somewhere else. Who the heck are you people to decide if someone's apology is real or fake? Is it a gesture, eye movement, posture, what? Idiots, y'all don't know !!! Stop faking. She is handicapped? So you bow down and treat her like gold, but then you whine and cry when the world treats her different at school or when friends dont' accept her? You only want special attention when it's to your advantage. Y'all need to shut up and grow up and stay out of everybody's business.

I can absolutely guarantee you....

...that if I had fallen on my sword like he did, and was trying to apologize (and save my business) I would have come up with an apology that sounded one heckuva lot more sincere than that mealy-mouthed, half-hearted attempt!

National News

Ok, Now the world is going to know what an ignorant man Robert Bryant. This has made the national news. His apology is pathetic. He keeps saying " IF " I did something wrong..He also says he is a Christian man. yeah right. If he was this would have never have happened.

Now is the time for someone to open up a Western Store. You will have all his business. If you think this will all settle down in a few days, boy are you wrong.

Christian ?

BIG FAT Bahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

NO HUMAN should treat a child with such disregard. You better be glad I wasn't there or you would have tape holding those glasses together you grouch.

He is grasping at straws. This story is being blogged and sent around the web.......OOPS, old man you are too little too late.

Heading to my Facebook page to join the BAN, already posted the story for my friends.

I doubt he's being legit...

This guy is an old, ignorant, angry, entitled fool who IMO is only apologizing to try and sidestep some of the horribly negative press that he is getting.

The problem is that it is going to be too little too late.

There is no way that the dog was "smelly and dirty", and there is no way that he doesn't know even basic ADA guidelines.

I am sure this guy has been like this his whole life. But this time it caught up to him and he is going to pay the price.

Anyone know what kinda stuff he sells in that store that would be unsellable if a dog touched it?


I read the story, watched the story, and I'm still kinda split. There's no doubt that Mr. Bryant has poor taste. In today's day and age, it is an abomination that one human would act harshly towards another with a condition like cerebral palsy. But looking at the facts of what happened and the Americans with Disabilities Act, I believe Mr. Bryant acted within his own legal powers as a store owner. The child is a dependent of her mother, not the guide dog. The government recognizes this (I wonder what the dog filed on his W-2), and hopefully, we should recognize it too. If it had been a twenty-something-year-old person with a condition such as cerebral palsy and they were denied service, then yes, I would see a huge problem. In that case, the person IS dependent on the guide-dog. In this instance, though, I can't help but think that legally the mom is responsible for her child being able to navigate around the store, not the dog. I feel horrible for the mother who had to go through this ordeal, I know it is not easy for her to have to be there for her child 24/7, and it only makes it worse that she can't even rely on her child's guard dog once in a while because there are people out there who are so ignorant. For that, I am truly sorry. But in the end, you have to accept the fact that there ARE ignorant people in the world. If the mother does indeed bring forth a lawsuit, I feel like she will be wasting time and money on a person who is not going to change, as well as hurting Mr. Bryant's business. If Mr. Bryant's business is going to shut down, then let him do it by his own disillusionment that customers will continue to come to his shop after what happened, not by taking him to court like every other American who can't accept the fact that sometimes life is s*****.

What Rock did you Crawl Out from Under!!!

What rock did you climb out from under, guard dog this is not a german shepard or a rottie, this is a trained well maintained golden retriever. Yes the mother is responsible for the child but to say that the mother should be more responsible for the child and not rely on the dog as much is the most ignorant statement I have ever heard. The fact that this mother got her child a service dog so that she can lead as normal a life as is possible for a person with her disabilities is the most responsible thing a parent can do. Also, the only way nowadays for anybody in this world to learn from their mistakes is to hit them where it hurts, their pocketbook. After watching Mr. Bryant's apology I do not know if he is truely sorry but to just let it be and say that life sometimes is s***** is another one of the most ignorant things I have ever heard. Life should be wonderful and full of hope no matter how old you are especially when you are 5 and have a life-long disability. So just crawl back up under that rock you came out from under and save the whole world the smell of your opinion.

P.S. The Western Shop has handicapped parking so he is totally aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The mother was there why the dog?

This is a child with a mother, why was there a need for the dog to be in the store. When the man asked them to leave why would the mother waste her time attempting to show a card - why would she want to give this man her money once he asked her to leave? He didn't ask her to leave did he? No he asked her to take the dog out of his store. He didn't deny the mother and child the right to shop. This is not an adult that is completely dependent on the dog, but a child who had her mother there. This child did not need the dog to shop. As an owner of 3 dogs, I still agree with the owner, there are people out there who do not want to deal with dogs or buy clothes covered in dog hair. This is his store, if treats his customers poorly he will go out of business. The mother can shop where people are nicer. She needs to quit whining and get on with her life and realize that forgiving this man would give her child a life lesson that is priceless.

To Guest 8765 and Mook

You don't know very much about service dogs do you? This dog is there for the child, its not a decoration.

Quote by Mrs. Ivancevich: "She helps Amanda with everything from mobility assistance to seizure detection and treatment."

This could be life saving and leaving a dog in a car for 10 mins while you run into a store because the owner doesn't allow "pets" (which a service dog is NOT a pet) could be very life threatening for this girl and for others. You should check out the the different guide dog foundations and see just what these wonderful animals do for our disabled people.


I just wanted to tell you that your point is heartfelt and very well thought out. Sometimes in debates emotions overrun logic and sometimes logic is presented without the fire of emotion. I am guilty of being over emotional myself on topics I feel especially passionate about. You have managed to present a point that is both intellectually sound and emotionally felt and it stopped me and made me rethink my own position. I abhor the mentality of a bully and instinctually want to see this man get a dose of his own medicine but I think you are absolutely right when you state"But in the end, you have to accept the fact that there ARE ignorant people in the world. If the mother does indeed bring forth a lawsuit, I feel like she will be wasting time and money on a person who is not going to change, as well as hurting Mr. Bryant's business. If Mr. Bryant's business is going to shut down, then let him do it by his own disillusionment that customers will continue to come to his shop after what happened" It is a sad fact but reality is not always pretty.

Just A Suggestion

I just wanted to gently comment on what you said about the "law" where it applies to service dogs. A service dog may legally go anywhere a human being may legally go & it is illegal to deny service to someone or not allow them or their service dog into any establishment!! You need to take a look at the Americans With Disabilities Act!! Obviously, you are not someone who deals with the daily issues, problems, barriers & discrimination that those of us who are disabled face every day of our lives. I became disabled several years ago after a 20+ year career of being a registered nurse. Since then I have been astounded & disgusted at the way people who are physically or mentally challenged are treated! I saw it as a nurse, but you can't understand how it feels until you, as they say, "walk a mile in their shoes." Granted, life is full of "****" that you can't change or control, but some things cannot be allowed to just be blown off. Even though this old man is obviously just plain ignorant, I don't believe him to be unteachable! Want to make a bet that he won't make this same "mistake" again? Especially since his disgusting display of ignorance has now made it to national tv!! This has nothing to do with who is responsible for the child, or W-2 forms!! It has to do with the equal rights of all people to have the same accessibility to all businesses as someone who has no physical challenges!! Also, that dog is trained to detect upcoming seizures so that the appropriate precautions can be taken before the seizure starts. Being without the service dog for a short amount of time could mean the difference between life & death for this precious child. Yes, life is full of obstacles, nasty people, lousy drivers, rude & ignorant people, cheating spouses & lousy politicians, etc., etc., etc....aka life is full of crap, but never miss an opportunity to teach, and never judge until you've walked a mile in the other person's shoes. You never know when it could be you that becomes disabled & becomes reliant on a service animal or other form of assistance!! Oh, by the way, if she decides to sue him, which that decision has not been made, all money will go to charity. This is not about trying to get a chunk of cash, it is about right & wrong, legal & illegal, moral & immoral...end of story!!



Why can't he be forgiven? Here's why....

Cause some of us have known him long enough or live close enough to him to see through the BS.He was choking up on crocodile tears.Well boo hoo!!!I'm throwing the BS card at him.Don't buy into any of it people.He is and will always be a nasty little man.


Man business must be down. To late man, you lay in the bed you make. Good luck to you and may God forgive you. There are not bad people in the world just people with problems and this man has one. I personally hope he gives a better apology than the canned one he gave in this report and if I were him I would get a new lawyer and go get a bankruptcy attorney.

Service Dog

The first video I saw on the AP website showed that the service dog was wearing his/her vest. Mr. Bryant couldn’t have possibly missed seeing that the dog was not a pet, but a working dog. Also in that video he was clearly biased about any dog coming in his store claiming that they would ruin his merchandise. However, in the second video and when confronted with the law (that I believe as a store owner he was fully aware of all along) and a possible lawsuit, he’s claiming that Amanda had on a mask as though that were a reason for his ignorance in the law. Yeah well, Amanda could be covered from head to toe in feathers and that makes no difference in this matter at all. The issue isn’t what Amanda was wearing, but that Mr. Bryant refused her service because of her working dog. The law also states that the disabled do not have to disclose their disability or explain what the working dog does for that disabled person.

We’ve had a service dog in our family for 12 years now and though we’ve never had any problems that weren’t cleared up real quick (I’m not as nice as Amanda’s mother), I’ve always carried cards that you can print out free from the ADA website that spell out the law to rude store owners should they refuse service to my daughter and her working dog.
I hope the mother of sweet Amanda sues the rather rude and dishonest Mr. Bryant for every dime he has.

I encourage everyone to boycott Mr. Bryant’s store.

service dog

Years ago, when I was denied access to his store, he was offered a card with ADA info but was too much of a know-it-all to accept it and read it. I filed a police report before I left the property. I've known him many years and he IS a pathetic little man.

Apology accepted. Now serve

Apology accepted. Now serve your time in jail and go find a new line of work that doesn't require you to interact with people.

Apology or not this guy DESERVES to lose his business and I for one won't think twice about him when he does.

Are you serious right now?

Are you serious right now? He "DESERVES" to lose his business? NO HE DOES NOT. He worked hard to get his business. I'm not saying what he did was right but ALL of you people are just has horrible as he is. You are bullying him and all he did was ask the woman to take the dog OUTSIDE. He did not ask them to not shop there, he just asked the dog to be taken out of his store! My God! You people are showing just as little respect as he did. Congratulations at sinking down to his level. OHHH maybe your business and LIFE should be taken away from YOU.

Store Owner Apology

He is apologizing for hurting her feelings, not because he did wrong. He needs to face criminal prosecution and punishment so that he knows he did something wrong. Plus, he could even possibly be sued by the mother of the disabled child. That would further drive home the wrong he did.
I find fault with his comparing the service dog with a pet. They are two different things. A service dog is a working animal first and, when not working, then a pet. His horses and cats are not service animals and do not belong in a store unless it allows pets. That's the difference.

things happen and he

things happen and he apologized for his decision u know no matter what a person does all we have to do is ask for forgiveness and god gives it to us why cant we be the same everyone has bad day from time to time so i dont understand why people just cant accept it and move on

are you serious???

This area is full of religious zealots. This has nothing to do with God or forgiving, this guy can't just throw a handicap girl from a store & walk away from it. No he doesn't deserve any crazy punishment, but it does need to hurt his wallet in a most unpleasant way.

Hey meat head. They where

Hey meat head. They where using an analogy on God's forgiveness. Guess there are as many heathens as zealots. Oh and by the way, the prior comment of forgiveness, I agree with. As indicated by so many posts there is enough hate to go around. Let him suffer with due punishment and move on.

I saw this on the news on

I saw this on the news on Monday night and I cried for that mother. This man is a poor excuse for a human being and I imagine this will ruin this business and he certainly deserves this!!

Western Shop

Yes, he was wrong, but, shame on you Christians who aren't accepting the apology, whether it's heartfelt or not, he apologized and it's your duty to accept it. go by what he does in the future, if a service dog comes in again, will he let it in? That's what you need to go by. Ask yourself, WWJD???


Probably heal the girl's palsy and ask where the nearest robe store is. He certainly wouldn't have treated her like a second class citizen.