Overtoun Bridge is on a 19th century estate near Dumbarton, Scotland. Since the 1960s, more than 50 dogs have jumped to their deaths in the same spot, the right-hand side of the bridge. Hundreds more have survived the jump onto the rocks 50 feet below, some dogs even returning to leap again.
Since no explanation for the bizarre behavior of their pets could be found, owners began to believe the bridge was haunted and there were supernatural forces at work.
In 1994, a tragic event occurred when a 32 year old man threw his 2 week old son from the bridge, believing he was possessed by the devil. When the man tried to jump too, his wife pulled him back. He was later place in a maximum security psychiatric hospital.
Finally, in 2005, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, prompted by all the tragedies, called on Dr. David Sands, canine psychologist, and David Sexton, animal habitat expert, to probe the mystery.
After thorough investigation of the Overtoun Bridge, their conclusion was that there was a strong smell of mink there as they were farmed in the area nearby. In their haste to hunt for the animal, the dogs’ prey instinct blotted out every other thought and led them to follow the scent over the bridge, realizing too late the danger.
The Celts claim that the bridge is in what they call “a thin place”, the area where two worlds or heaven and earth meet.
Dr. Sands dismissed the theory that dogs were committing suicide, saying “it’s impossible for a dog to premeditate its own death.”
Whatever reason you believe that the dogs jump, the bridge is still referred to as the “Dogs Suicide Bridge.”
Many people believe that efforts should be made to erect some type of barrier to prevent dogs from leaping over the bridge. We think that would be the right thing to do.