Shepherds of Good Hope angry over neighbour's posters comparing shelter to a 'zoo'
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Thursday, September 20, 2018 4:09PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 21, 2018 9:28AM EDT
A fiery message is being aimed at the Shepherds of Good Hope along Murray Street in Ottawa and that’s generating anger among the residents there.
The owner of several properties beside the shelter has erected large posters comparing Shepherds to a zoo. The five properties line the 200 block of Murray Street.
The posters are prompting a lot of reaction, even a visit from Ottawa Bylaw today.
Clearly, the owner of the homes intended to make a very vocal statement; it hasn't gone unnoticed.
If they are meant to catch your eye, they're certainly accomplishing that and a lot more
“When I see that,” says one man as he passes by, “it makes me sick to my stomach.”
Eight- foot posters are plastered all over the 5 properties adjacent to the Shepherds of Good Hope, one saying, “Wow, wow, wow, the great Ottawa zoo; well known in China.” The others depict world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Queen and the Pope, on the toilet with a caption, “What I see makes me s***.”
Those last posters are based on the work of Italian artist Cristina Guggeri who wanted to depict world leaders doing their, well, daily duty.
“We can't have that here. It's appalling, very appalling,” says another man as he walks by them.
“We're not animals,” says Tray, who frequents Shepherds, “We are people that have had a hard time. We’re not people that have everything given to us so we have to work to make our lives better. This,” pointing to the posters, “doesn't make our lives better.”
The signs went up a week ago all along the block. There were a few more of them, including one of Donald Trump but they got torn down.”
Contacted by phone, the owner of the properties said he has been a patient man for 35 years and should finally have a right to say something against what he called “an army of junkies.”
He's not alone in those thoughts.
“These signs are good,” said another man who frequents Shepherds, “because it is bringing attention to something that needs to be done.”
Deirdre Freiheit, the President and CEO of Shepherds of Good Hope says there isn't much the organization can do about the signs but it is disappointed about them.
“This is one unfortunate incident,” she says, “but overall people are good and supportive and recognize that we're here to provide services to people that really need them in the community.”
The city of Ottawa, on the other hand is trying to see if there is something it can do. Bylaw officers were out today to inspect the posters.
“Obviously, bylaw is on the ground analyzing to see what we have within our authority,” says Ottawa Councillor Mathieu Fleury, “and city legal is involved as well to see if we can ask the owner to take them down.”
The posters cost about $300 a piece to make. Fleury wonders why the owner wouldn’t use that money to help the most vulnerable in our community. The owner says his tax dollars have been going towards supporting Shepherds for years; he says he's had enough.