She was very pretty and very dead when the surprised owner of Parkland Cleaners found her yesterday morning, sprawled near a dumpster in the alley behind his store in the Chevy Chase neighborhood.

How the 200-pound doe wound up in an alley behind the 5600 block of Connecticut Avenue NW is unknown. Nor does anyone know where the deer came from.

"It was kind of interesting, you know, seeing a deer like that," said Matthew Nizin. "I saw it when I made a trip to my car around 9:15. I started calling the dead animal number in the phone book."

The Department of Public Works sent two men over to the alley about noon to remove the deer.

"Our guys said she had a broken leg," said spokeswoman Tara Hamilton. "They didn't see any blood."

Hamilton, who said such calls are infrequent, said the workers described the doe as "a plain brown deer." She said they didn't notice if it had the characteristic white tail of the deer that roam Rock Creek Park three miles away.

"If it was a white-tailed deer, it might be one of ours," said Bob Ford, resources manager of the park, which has become home to about two dozen deer in the past few years. But he can't be sure because the park deer are neither named nor numbered.

"Of course, we have no fence and they are free to go," he said. "We have had reports of loose dogs in the park and they might have chased a deer out into the neighborhood."

Ford thought maybe the deer might have escaped from the National Zoo. "No deer missing," reported zoo spokesman Bob Hoage. "We have two white-tails and they are both here."

Hamilton said the body was sent to a rendering plant in Baltimore. "That is where all our animals go."