Puppies rescued at the Italian hotel hit by an avalanche

Italy's fire department released video of three puppies rescued on Monday, January 23rd at the Rigopiano Hotel which was flattened by an avalanche on Wednesday, January 18th.

Twenty-three people are still missing and rescue workers have been working around the clock since they arrived at the site on Thursday, January 19th. Nine people have been rescued from the rubble and two others survived because they had stepped out of the premises when the avalanche hit. Six people have been confirmed dead.

Three shaggy white Abruzzo sheepdog puppies were found in the hotel boiler room, the fire department said on their website.

The puppies parents, Lupo (wolf) and Nuvola (cloud), had escaped the avalanche and were found in the valley.

Authorities have been accused of acting to slow after a series of earthquakes shook central Italy.

Italian media published an email sent by the hotel manager on Jan. 18 to an array of local authorities, urging help to clear the access roads to enable the guests to escape after the region was rattled by powerful earthquakes.

Staff operating emergency hotlines allegedly did not take seriously early telephone calls reporting the disaster.

Italian media said the emergency services had contacted the hotel's owner to see if he could confirm the avalanche. He reportedly said he knew nothing about it, but the operators were apparently unaware that he was not actually there.

As a result, the rescue operation only got into gear some 2-1/2 hours later, with the first rescue team arriving by ski 11 hours after the catastrophe because the roads were impassable.

The government has promised to review its emergency response apparatus in the wake of the disaster. A court in nearby Pescara has opened an investigation into the tragedy.