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Dog Suicide Bridge – Overtoun Bridge

Dog Suicide Bridge – Overtoun Bridge: Why Is It Called “Suicide Bridge?”

Dog Suicide Bridge
Dog Suicide Bridge

You might be surprised by the title, but such a place exists. Dogs are anything except suicidal, and indeed, these four-legged, natural “anti-depressants” will never be one. You might be thinking that dogs can’t experience depression at all. But in reality, dogs do get sad and eventually be depressed if not properly treated. 

Still, dogs don’t have anything in them to commit such acts. Yet reports have surfaced worldwide that a particular bridge became a perfect place for dog suicide. The New York Times revealed that over a hundred dogs have jumped over this bridge since the 1960s. This article discusses Overtoun Bridge and why it is called a dog’s “suicide bridge.”

Overtoun Bridge

The Overtoun Bridge is a bridge located in Dumbarton, Scotland. This Gothic-style bridge has a 50-foot (15 meters) ravine. In addition, you can only find rocks below that 50-foot height. Designed by landscape architect H.E. Milner, the bridge was completed in 1895. 

Following the announcement on June 12, 1895, the bridge was designed with a Scottish-Baronial style. Additionally, the bridge has a center that is 32 feet long, while the sides are 10 feet long each. In total, the bridge is 135 feet long and 14 feet wide. 

Why “Suicide Bridge?”

Dog Suicide Bridge
Dog Suicide Bridge

Reports of dogs suddenly jumping from the bridge surfaced in the media. But no one has provided a proper explanation yet as to why this is happening. The events of dog suicides in this particular bridge still baffle people, even experts. 

 According to some reports, the bridge has claimed 50 dog lives since the 1950s. Others say about a hundred dogs jumped since the 1960s, while some give numbers as high as 300. Numbers aside, the fact that dogs have jumped over this bridge for unknown reasons still stands.

How do the dogs commit “suicide” at the “Suicide Bridge?”

Dog Suicide Bridge
Dog Suicide Bridge

No proper explanation has surfaced as to why dogs jump. But multiple stories exist on how dogs respond whenever crossing the bridge. Lottie McKinnon told her story when she and her dog crossed the bridge in 2016 to The New York Times and went like this:

“Something overcame Bonnie [her Border collie dog] as soon as we approached the bridge. At first, she froze, but then she became possessed by a strange energy and ran and jumped right off the parapet.”

Ms. McKinnon also told The New York Times how she scurried below the bridge to see what happened to Bonnie. Upon stumbling her dog, she saw Bonnie whimpering and trying to stand up. Thankfully, the dog survived.

For Alice Trevorrow, the same thing happened to her dog while walking over the bridge. According to IndiaTimes.com, Trevorrow walked the bridge with her dog Cassie in 2014. Below is her statement:

“I had parked up and as she is so obedient, I didn’t put her lead on… me and my son walked toward Cassie, who was staring at something above the bridge… she definitely saw something that made her jump. There is something sinister going on. It was so out of character for her.”

In that same year, still from IndiaTimes.com, a dog owner named Kenneth Meikle experienced the very same thing. His Golden Retriever stopped and suddenly jumped off the bridge. Luckily, the dog survived. 

In other cases, however, the owner is not that lucky. There were reports that while passing the bridge, a dog stopped and jumped. Luckily, it survived. But the second time the dog passed with its owner, he did the same thing again. Unfortunately, the dog died. 

Based on these stories, it can be seen that the dogs react similarly whenever they pass the bridge.

The events here led the locals to speculate that a supernatural phenomenon was happening in the area surrounding the bridge. In addition, only dogs fall victim to these events. There are no reports of cats or other animals jumping over the bridge.

What is the reason, then?

It should be enough to speculate that supernatural beings exist in that area if looking at the way the dogs respond whenever they cross the bridge. Dogs stop for a while, then suddenly jump over. The dog’s response while Overtoun can be described as “unusual.” 

However, during 2010, David Sands investigated the bridge to determine the reason for these unusual events. Sands is an animal behaviorist. He reported that most of these cases involved dogs with long noses or breeds used for tracking. These dogs sense a specific scent coming from a wild animal (specifically minks). These scents lure the dogs, dulling their senses and making them unable to see the sheer drop until it’s too late. 

In addition, Sands believes that the tapered edges of the bridge appear “safe” for dogs to jump on.

From the dog’s perspective, the tapered edges are flat planes that go beyond. This eventually leads them into a trap and fall down. He, therefore, concluded that the dog’s unending and uncontrollable curiosity might be the cause of its death. But the nearby superstitious residents of the bridge in Dumbarton say otherwise.

It’s still believed that supernatural forces haunt the bridge. These forces capture the dogs’ attention and ultimately bring them to their demise. A terrible accident happened in October 1994 at the bridge. This involved a 32-year old father throwing his 2-week old son Eoghan at the edge of the bridge. He believed that the devil possessed the baby because of his birthmark. The man was supposed to jump off the bridge but was pulled by his terrified wife and sent to a mental institution. 

Still, there is no clear evidence or explanation as to why dogs jump over the bridge. These cases are still yet to be solved. But one thing’s for sure: whenever you cross the bridge with your dog, be on your highest guard.

The Takeaway

Though dogs are naturally cheerful creatures, they do get sad sometimes. But the case in Overtoun bridge is different and mysterious. Until today, nobody knows the correct explanation for why these cases occur. The conclusion brought by Sands may not be accepted yet, but it might be the most reasonable. Dogs should be guarded whether crossing the bridge or not, especially when outdoors. Their curiosity might be the one to lead them to die, after all. 


JP Velasquez

A guy who loves to write anything that comes to mind. Self-proclaimed dog owner with two cute dogs. Dreams of becoming a published writer someday. Currently working on how to make that dream a reality.

Jace Sinclair
Jace Sinclair
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