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Shop owner “sorry” he kicked out service dog

The owner of a western wear shop in North Carolina has apologized for kicking a 5-year-old girl’s service dog out of his store — but not until after threats of a boycott and lawsuit surfaced.

“I had no intentions to offend anyone, but if I have I apologize for it,” said Robert Bryant who owns the Western Shop in New Hanover County, N.C. He said he wasn’t famliar with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Bryant’s raspy “apology” — you can see more of it here — was in stark contrast to what he reportedly barked at the girl and her mother: “Get that (expletive) dog out of my store.”

Bryant said the dog smelled bad and he didn’t want dog hair on his merchandise, sounding much like the Colorado attorney who was hit with $50,000 in fines this week for banning a woman and her service dog from his law office, for fear it might soil his new carpet.

Ellie, a golden retriever, belongs to 5-year-old Amanda Ivancevich, who has cerebral palsy and is missing the left side of her brain. She relies on the dog to get her through the day and alert her family to pending seizures. Her mother, Susan Ivancevich, said it was Amanda’s first trip outside in a year.

“I’m a law abiding citizen, yes,” said Bryant. “I had no intentions of offending this child. I love children.” He also pointed out repeatedly that he runs a “Christian business.”

Since learning more about what the law says about service dogs, Bryant says he would act differently if Ellie walked into his store again.

After Susan Ivancevich posted a comment about the incident on Facebook, dozens have come to her support, and some have vowed to stop patronizing Bryant’s shop.


Comment from Sarahkate
Time April 1, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I find it extremely difficult to believe that the shop owner did not know of the Americans with Disabilities Act which has been around since I believe 1992 or 1993 and information as it applies to all public access areas is so widespread as to have reached the saturation point. Sounds to me like he is an evil old redneck with bad temper on constant simmer and ready to erupt into a boilover with very little provocation. In my opinion he is lying through his teeth to save his sorry derriere from a lawsuit which surely will follow, and if not a civil lawsuit I can guar-an-teeee you he will be receiving some rather strongly worded contact from the ADA people and probably this child’s disability caregivers which usually include state and local agencies. Have at this old geezer! PLEASE!!!

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time April 2, 2010 at 8:01 am

Last I heard, ignorance of the law was no excuse. The proprietor needs to get in touch with the carpet-loving attorney. Maybe they could found a Mean People Suck Legal Defense Fund.

Comment from Erin
Time April 13, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I see both points here.
The kid. The dog is clearly marked, service animal.
The owner of the store. It’s a dog in his store. The dog will leave hair and possibly does smell which in turn hurts his business.
Honestly though, I think it’s sad that of course the mother wants to sue. An apology should be enough for this issue.

Comment from Angela
Time June 7, 2010 at 2:56 am

I hope the mother wins the lawsuit. The child is obviously disabled and the dog is obviously helping her. I MIGHT understand if it was an adult with a hidden disability and with a poorly marked dog.
I have known people that smelled worse than 99% of the service dogs I know. Does he ask those people to leave? Come on it is a western store. People come in with horse hair on their jeans and horse apples on their boots!!!!