The Brandywine Stables in Prince Gerge's County, where one goes to ride horses, is involved in a growing controversy over a lion.

Carrie, which is what the lion is called, is living out in back of the Brandywine Stables in a small metal cage. Some customers at the Brandywine Stables think the cage is too small and that the lion is being misreated.

Pamel Harding, owner of the stables, disagrees. "We're taking very good care of Carrie," she said. Carrie actually belongs to a truck driver who lives in Charlottesvile, Va. He has no room for the animal, and Harding is taking care of it for him.

She said she does not plan to let Carrie out of the cage until a friend who knows the lion returns, in about two weeks' time. Harding also has two llamas, three goats, an animal resembling a small buffalo (she does not know what kind of animal it is) and 80 horses at the stables.

Customers at the stable have also protestde about the lion's diet. "I couldn't believe it when they put the head of a dead pony in the cag," said 20-year-old Tracy Stigman, a customer. Harding said that "it would cost too much money to feed the lion meat."

Yesterday Harding was questioned about the care of the lion by Bettijane Mackall, an animal protection officer from Fairfax County. Mackall, a member of the Animal Protection Association of America, Inc., said she was looking into the matter because "Prince George's County does not have animal cruelty officers any longer."

Responding to Mackall's questions, Harding said she had no federal permit for the lion and said she had tried to "call everybody to get rid of the lion . . ." Moments later when Mackall offered to take the lione away, Harding said, "I don't want you to move her.She is going to stay here. We like her."

Mackall said she plans to take legal action to determine whether the care of the lion legally falls within the Maryland cruelty laws.