The Dog Suicide Bridge

Overtoun Bridge

Overtoun Bridge

Near the village of Milton in West Dunbartonshire lies the Overtoun Bridge; an arch bridge which has become famous for the bizzarely large number of dogs who have leapt over the side to their death.

Built in 1895 by Lord Overtoun, the Victorian bridge stands 50 feet over the Overtoun Burn which flows below. The dog jumping phenomenon started sometime in the 1950s continuing to be a common occurence for the following five decades, with each account having certain similar details.

It is said the majority of dogs who have clambered over the bridge wall have been long nose breeds, such as labradors, collies, and retrievers. Also the dogs have all gone over at the same point on the bridge when, more often than not, it has been a sunny, dry day.

It has even been reported that the dogs who jumped, but did not die from the fall, immediately made their way back up to the bridge to do the exact same thing again, and usually dying second time round.

Contemplating his purpose in life.

Contemplating his purpose in life.

There have been a number of theories as to why the dogs are choosing to go over the edge, ranging from the bridge being haunted to the canines suffering from depression, or even picking up depressed or suicidal feelings from their owners. However, the explanation which seems to be the most logical involves the presence of minks on the banks of the burn. The mink’s powerful anal glands leave marks wherever they go and the strong musty smell they produce apparently interest dogs. So it is suggested that the height of the bridge’s granite walls significantly impairs the dogs’ sense of sight and hearing, so when they go to investigate the smell, they are unaware of the massive fall that awaits them. This would explain why the dogs all went over on clear and dry days, because the mink smell wouldn’t have been strongly dilluted by the rain.

However, this explanation doesn’t satisfy all. For some, it is still puzzling as to why the dogs all jump from roughly the same spot, and why the dogs that didn’t die, went and jumped again. Perhaps they would prefer the paranormal explanation rather than the logical one.

The Overtoun Bridge is now known all over the world as the infamous suicide bridge for dogs, with some people coming to visit it to see how it affects their dogs, whilst the more loving pet owners are too wary of the crossings reputation to walk across it.


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