Behind its romantic setting, Overtoun Bridge near Dumbarton, Scotland is infamous as spot not for broken hearted people but for dogs. The dog suicides are committed by jumping from the bridge dubbed Dog’s Suicide Bridge.
According to locals, there were 600 dogs who dived to their deaths for the past five decades. Most dogs were all long muzzle breeds – Collie, Labrador, and Greyhound. Long-nosed breeds are bred for tracking or retrieving prey. The suicide happened at the same spot of the bridge on clear days. Some said that they witnessed dogs climbing the bulwark wall before jumping.
Alice Trevorrow shared how she saw her three-year-old springer spaniel Cassie suddenly leapt from the 50ft high bridge. According to Alice, when they got out of the car, Cassie immediately made her way to the bridge, “turned her head, looked up and jumped.” Fortunately, Cassie survived.
However, Donna Cooper’s collie dog Ben did not survived the test. Ben jumped over a parapet on the granite bridge. His paw, jaw and back were badly broken and twisted.
The Scottish authority put warning sign on the bridge and cautioned pet owners to walk their pet with leash, else there will be another case of dog suicide.
Locals believed that the bridge is haunted by the spirit of the ‘White Lady of Overtoun’ who has been sighted there for over 100 years. This White Lady was said to be responsible for 1994 tragedy when Kevin Moy threw his baby off the bridge before a failed suicide. Moy was placed in a maximum-security psychiatric facility.
Animal behavior experts suggested that dog’s suicide may be attributed to a mink’s markings. The dogs are attracted to the scent of mink which is plenty below the bridge. With the bridge wall, the dogs do not realize the height of the bridge thus leaping over after the forceful odor.
However, many are still not satisfied with the mink theory. Stories held that some dogs survived the leap only to jump again.