The group calling itself the Animal Liberation Front that said it took cats from a Howard University lab on Christmas Day claimed that it made off with a dog yesterday from a U.S. Navy research lab in Bethesda.

The Navy took an inventory of animals at the Naval Medical Research Institute yesterday after hearing reports of the incident, and said one of their dogs indeed was missing.

The dog was taken, the group said, partly because of "the callous and insensitive attitude" shown it in the laboratory where it was mauled and "very badly chewed up" after being placed with larger dogs because of overcrowding, according to a woman who said she represented the liberation front.

The woman said two women wearing laboratory coats walked into the facility on Wisconsin Avenue around 4 p.m., "put the dog in a satchel" and walked out.

According to the liberation front, the dog was a black male miniature schnauzer. The group said the dog was examined by a veterinarian and taken to a safe place.

The Navy said it was missing an animal that was part poodle. A Navy spokesman said he did not know the dog's other antecedents.

A Navy spokesman said the dog had been in a fight last month with another animal and had been properly treated. Animals at the facility, on the grounds of the National Naval Medical Center, are kept "under proper conditions," and research is carried out according to approved medical protocols, he said.

The liberation front representative said other reasons for taking the dog included a wish to protest what the front considered an excessive amount of research on animals and the failure of Congress to pass a bill to reduce the need for repeated animal experiments and to fund research on alternatives to them.

In the raid at Howard, the ALF said it took 35 cats, many of which it said were bone thin and some of which it said had suffered fractures or showed the marks of surgical incisions. The university said it made every effort to provide humane treatment for the cats, which it said were used in experiments.