"You don't even do a dog like that," said Sherri Kelly, who was visiting the island from Spring, Texas. "I don't care. That's inhumane."
"Where were they walking him to and why did they rope him if he was handcuffed? I don't think it's right," Cynthia Orise of Galveston said.
Donald Neely, 43, was arrested by the Galveston Police Department on Saturday, accused of criminal trespass in a commercial area of the island city.
Police say the officers led him around the corner, where the mounted patrol unit was staging when the photo was taken.
Some commented online that it appeared the rope was tied to the suspect's hands. The police department says the suspect was handcuffed and the rope was clipped to the handcuffs.
Chief Vernon L. Hale, III of the Galveston Police Department released a statement apologizing to Neely:
"First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment. Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgement in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest. My officers did not have any malicious intent at the time of the arrest, but we have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods."
The department identified the officers as P. Brosch and A. Smith. They were wearing body cameras, which were activated, according to police.
Neely's sister was upset when she saw the photo. She told Eyewitness News' sister station ABC13 that he is mentally ill and homeless.
Police say the officers do not face discipline.