A woman from Gateway Rescue spotted a horse Thursday morning in a vacant lot in the 4800 block of Baleydier.
Julianne Alexander, a volunteer and photographer with Gateway Pet Guardian, said she came across the horse when riding along with the founder of the organization, P.J. Hightower.
"We were looking for a dog named Church who she feeds every morning. And, we came across the horse. It was tied to a tree. We were concerned that the horse might trip over the rope and fall," Alexander said.
"If a horse gets twisted in a rope and falls down and breaks its leg, it would have to be put down," she said.
Washington Park Detective James Mister said the owner lives in Washington Park and is affiliated with the East St. Louis Police Department. He said the owner is not a police officer, as some news accounts have said.
The owner, who is in his 40s, has had the horse for four years, Mister said.
"According to the owner, the horse was well cared for," Mister said. The owner was in the hospital for more than a week and did not know his horse was left in the vacant lot.
"The horse was left in a horse shed where he was being cared for. The owner said he just found out. He had given someone permission to ride before and he believes that individual, without his permission, got the horse and left it where it was found." Mister said.
The horse was taken to a horse farm in Union, Mo., and remained there Thursday night.
"The horse's tail was matted and full of burrs," Alexander said. "And, the hair on the top of his head was was matted."
"It was extra thin and didn't appear to be in good shape. There was no food or water there."
After getting the horse transported to "Hooties" in Union, Mo., Alexander said she and Hightower returned to feed the other abandoned animals that they help care for in the city.