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Canadian 'Homeless Jesus' statue confused for real person

By Daniel Uria   |   Jan. 21, 2016 at 2:49 PM

HAMILTON, Ontario, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Canadian paramedics have received several calls of a homeless man sleeping on a bench after snow conditions caused locals to confuse a statue for an actual person.

Hamilton Paramedics in Ontario shared a photo of a bronze statue known as "Homeless Jesus" to inform confused citizens that the work of art is not in fact a living person.

"Thanks to those who reported someone laying out in the cold, thankfully it's the 'Homeless Jesus' statue," they wrote.

Local officials asked citizens to alert authorities to people stranded out in the could during the winter months, but paramedics received an influx of calls about the statue, forcing paramedics to respond to several false reports.

"We have had several 911 calls from well-intentioned passers-by who unfortunately did not first stop to determine if someone was truly in need," Hamilton Paramedic Chief Michael Sanderson told The Record. "The dispatch center is required to respond [with] an ambulance on unknown calls of this nature rather than simply assuming that there is no need for response based on prior experiences there."

The statue, created by artist Timothy Shmalz, debuted in Toronto before 1 of 100 copies was placed in Hamilton in October.

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