SEVERE overcrowding in RSPCA kennels is leading to the deaths of hundreds of dogs and to the rejection of countless others brought to the charity for care. The 16 kennels in the society's Wan Chai and Ho Man Tin branches are housing up to 40 dogs each, with some cubicles holding as many as five animals. The overcrowding is forcing the society to put down dogs who have little chance of being found a home. RSPCA spokesman Rosana Lai Yuen Chau-heung said that despite placing an average of 90 dogs each month, the group was having to put down an average of 400 dogs to control the overcrowding. But, the intake figure was still rising, she said. 'It's terrible because it's not just old or sick dogs we are having to put down, but young, healthy ones, too,' Mrs Lai said. 'Big dogs like the huge Great Dane we have in Wan Chai are difficult to house because many people are apprehensive of adopting big dogs. 'But if we go over our space limit of 40 dogs in our kennels then our vets must go through the painful process of elimination.' She said the society was in the high intake season due to people abandoning their Christmas presents and Lunar New Year holiday-makers dumping pets. The Agriculture and Fisheries Department has four kennel buildings throughout the territory which can house up to nearly 500 dogs. The department puts down all strays after four days. A spokesman said more than 18,000 stray dogs were put to sleep last year. Spokesman for the Hong Kong Kennel Club Shen Jui-ming said: 'There's just far too many dogs being uncared for and it's a sad fact that there is little we can do about it. 'It's ridiculous that so many dogs are being imported here only to be abandoned and put down. There has to be better public education on the implications of having a dog.'