How LBJ's Dog's Ears Became A National Concern In 1964

LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton

In 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson lifted a beagle by its ears in front of reporters, he enraged animal lovers and animal rights groups. Johnson, a Texan and dog lover, pulled the stunt to make the dog yelp before some visiting businessmen, according to Life magazine, and said "It does them good to let them yelp." He claimed he didn't think he was hurting the dog, but Humane Society spokespeople begged to differ, and Johnson caught heat from activists' public statements and newspaper editorial pages. It was a public bickering match that the President wasn't going to win. Today, the photo and the botched response stands as one of the most memorable presidential gaffes of all time.