Aurora Velazquez is the Executive Director of ACCT Philly in Philadelphia, PA, the region’s largest open admissions animal shelter, serving approximately 17,000 animals and their people each year. Stepping into the position in 2019, Aurora’s goals have been to bring stability and infrastructural support to promote and grow a lifesaving mission.
In 2020, the organization finalized major renovations and acquired an additional 8000 square feet, transforming the standard of care and service.
Aurora started her career in animal welfare in 2004 as an unpaid intern at a small humane society in New Jersey and has spent her career in and around NYC, working primarily with at risk animals and people. With a strong interest in engaging and empowering pet owners to be involved in and make decisions for the welfare of their pets, she has been involved with several pet food bank projects, managed spay/neuter and vaccine clinics with a variety of organizations, and is a huge proponent of surrender prevention and intake diversion programming as a means to save animals’ lives and engage the community.
As the Communities Manager for the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Project she mentored agencies around the country on the operational aspects of establishing high quality, high volume spay/neuter clinics, including staff management, policy development, and metrics analysis. From there, Aurora joined Animal Care Centers of NYC in 2011, where she held a variety of positions, ultimately serving as Chief Operating Officer. There, she spearheaded the organization’s focus on surrender prevention and community oriented services, implementing a support system that provided over $150,000 in subsidized vet care for clients each year, with a focus on resource deserts in each borough of New York City.
Aurora has had the honor of speaking nationally at a number of conferences as a program expert, including the Louisiana Animal Control Association Annual Conference and The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement Spring Conference. She is a member of the Executive Leadership Program at Best Friends Animal Society and a member of the AAWA and HASS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion working groups.
Aurora lives in Philadelphia with her husband, two dogs Winston and Pipa, their cat Elliot, and their parrot Fran.