About 40 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger yesterday commending him for "swift action" in banning the shooting of dogs for medical research and protesting the Pentagon's "plans to proceed with the shooting of goats, pigs and other animals" for the same purpose.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced that the "wound laboratory" at the nation's military medical school in Bethesda, which spurred the controversy over the animal shootings, would open as scheduled and that one research project involving the wounding of pigs would go forward as approved.

But the Pentagon announced that no dogs would be shot "as long as Caspar Weinberger is secretary of defense."

After an animal welfare group informed him of the dog shootings planned for the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) began circulating a letter among his colleagues decrying the plan as a "shocking waste of animal lives and tax monies." Weinberger, reacting to the subsequent public outcry, ordered a halt to that plan Tuesday.

But Lantos said he would continue the fight until he got a "fuller response" from Weinberger on other research programs involving the shooting of animals throughout the department.