Nearly all the stray dogs and cats caught by the city are destroyed, government figures show, a trend that worries animal rights activists. Dr York Chow Yat-ngok, the secretary for food and health, told lawmakers yesterday the department caught or received 15,600 stray dogs and cats last year. Except for 1,550 that were reclaimed by their owners, and 740 others which found a home, all were euthanised - representing about 85 per cent of the total caught. Chow said a stray dog or cat would be detained for four days. If they were not reclaimed, veterinarians would check whether the animal was healthy and suitable for adoption. 'Animals that are assessed to be unsuitable for rehoming due to health or temperament reasons, or could not be rehomed by animal welfare organisations, will be euthanised,' Chow said. The number of strays caught or received in 2007 were 18,760, of which 16,770 were euthanised. In 2008, the figure was 16,750 and 14,500 were put down. There are 11 animal welfare organisations that provide rehoming services for the department. Sandy Macalister, an executive director at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said more dogs than cats were being abandoned. 'Large dogs have bigger problems than smaller ones,' he said. 'Even Huskies were abandoned.' Macalister said the government's 'catch-and-kill' policy should be reviewed because it would not fix the problem. 'You can't always catch all the dogs. You need to repeat it once the new populations emerge from the vacuums created,' he said. He said the SPCA advocated a 'trap-neuter-return' tactic where strayed animals were neutered.