BAY RIDGE — Animal rights are an important issue for City Councilmember Justin Brannan, who, with his wife Leigh, last year adopted two greyhounds, Fiorello and Luna. Brannan also recently sponsored a bill, passed by the City Council, that established the Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare, that was created to protect animal rights.
On Thursday, March 5, Brannan discussed the issue with the students at Lutheran Elementary School, 440 Ovington Ave. in Bay Ridge, after having been invited by Junior Girl Scout Troop 2840 to speak on the subject.
Lutheran Elementary School Director of Advancement, Dr. Jan Pirozzi, was delighted to have Brannan talk to the students. “Councilman Brannan spoke with the children about ways they can help, such as by adopting rescue animals when taking a pet into their family,” Pirozzi told this paper.
“The Lutheran Elementary School Junior Girl Scout Troop, and the Junior High School Young Women’s Leadership Group have partnered this year to raise awareness about animal welfare, and to sponsor an animal adoption event this spring in our community,” she added.
To that end, the leadership group, comprised of sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls, held a Valentine’s Day bake sale to raise funds to help sponsor an animal adoption event.
“I must say I am pretty lucky that having my job means that I get to start off my day with a group of incredibly smart and passionate kids who want to talk about the issues,” Brannan told this paper.
“I had to field hard-hitting questions about my legislation to create the Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare, how animal adoption works in the city, and whether kids are legally allowed to have pigs as pets. Needless to say, our future looks not only bright but full of compassion,” he added.
Fifth grade student and Girl Scout Bella Pirozzi explained how the project came about. “We had been planning our Bronze Award for Girl Scouts, and we narrowed it down to helping animals in shelters,” said Bella. “I wanted to ask Councilman Brannan because he was an authority figure, and kids in our society should be able to ask our authority figures for help. So we wrote a letter to Councilman Brannan, asking him to help us. It was really meaningful to have him accept our invitation,” she added.
Another fifth grader, Paula Spolar, said that she was glad the whole school was invited to hear Brannan. “I was really happy it wasn’t just the Girl Scouts that Councilman Brannan talked to, that it was the whole school that got to learn about this cause. In order to earn our Bronze Award, we have to make a difference in our community and we want to do that by helping animals.”
Fourth grade student Olive Farrell was a bit starstruck by Brannan’s visit. “It’s exciting that we got to invite someone so famous for our project, and I think the word will spread about animals since he spoke to the whole school. I’m an animal lover so I hope a lot of people will be inspired by what he said,” she said.