Since the 1950s, about 50 dogs have suddenly jumped from a height of 15 meters while crossing the bridge and died. An estimated 600 other dogs were lucky to survive the jump, but many still managed to jump again.
The Overtoun Bridge was built in 1895 and is nicknamed the “bridge of death” due to its association with dog accidents. The reason why dogs constantly “suicide” is still an unsolved mystery.
The position where all dogs stand before jumping is between the last two sections of the guard wall on the starboard side of the bridge. Another strange thing is that most of them kill themselves on a sunny and cloudless day. The dogs are all long-nosed breeds like collie, retriever and labrador.
About 50 dogs have jumped off the Overtoun Bridge in the past five decades. (Photo: Oddity Central)
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) called the dog suicides on Overtoun Bridge a “heartbreaking mystery”.
“Many dog owners who commit suicide are trying to figure out what caused them to jump off a bridge,” the SSPCA said.
Ben is the name of a collie dog that jumped off a bridge in 1995 when he was walking with three people. The animal did not show any signs before and during the walk. But when it reached the position between the last two guard walls on the starboard side of the bridge, it suddenly jumped down. The animal fell onto the rocks about 15 meters below the bridge. Ben’s legs and spine were broken, and his jaw was broken. When the three owners brought the animal to the vet’s house, he concluded that he could not save its life.
Overtoun Bridge crosses Overtoun Burn stream and has a height of 15m. (Photo: Oddity Central)
Kenneth Meikle, another person, also witnessed a similar situation with his dog.
“I was walking with the kids and the dog Hendrix when suddenly he jumped off the bridge. My daughter screamed and I ran down to the river to pick her up. The next day the vet saved it. Hendrix was lucky because it fell on a thick patch of moss , ” Meikle said.
Many theories have been put forward to explain why Overtoun Bridge has become a “favorite suicide spot for dogs”. A lord with the surname Overtoun built the bridge in 1895. The bridge spans the Overtoun Burn stream and has a height of 15m. The most widely accepted theory is that one or more spirits are wandering the bridge. A legend has mentioned the Overtoun Bridge, according to which the bridge is the place where heaven and earth are closest to each other. Because dogs’ hunches are more sensitive than humans, they clearly sense the presence of heaven above, so they lose the ability to control their behavior.
David Sands, an expert in animal psychology, thinks that the scent of animals crawling under the bridge attracts dogs to jump off . According to him, the dogs sniffed the scent of ferrets, pine ferrets or some other mammal. They jumped onto the bridge and slipped and fell due to the beveled rock face.
The brown weasel gives off a very strong odor from the anal glands. This animal has been living in the area since the 1950s, coinciding with the time of the first dog jumps. This theory also helps to explain why dogs only jump off bridges on clear days when the weasel smell is strongest.
Overtoun Bridge is the site of many dog suicides. (Photo: Tuul.tv).
To test the theory, Sands ran a series of experiments in a documentary about the bridge in which dogs had the choice of chasing after the scent of a ferret, squirrel, or mouse. As a result, 70% of dogs participated in the ferret chase experiment, proving that the smell of this species is very attractive to them.
Explaining why suicides don’t occur on other bridges, even though mink live near rivers and streams across Scotland, Sands blamed the bridge’s design, with its railings being taller than most dogs. they can’t see the slope on the other side. Intrigued by the smell of weasel, the dogs jumped onto the railing thinking they would land on hard ground, but unexpectedly they tripped and fell dead.
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has conducted an investigation into the cause of the phenomenon but has not been successful. Today, animal owners are encouraged to walk their dogs on a leash when crossing the Overtoun Bridge to avoid unwanted accidents.