Halloween Special: The Story Behind Scotland’s Canine Suicide Spot


Overtoun Bridge, located near the village of Milton in the burgh of Dumbarton, Scotland, has gained media attention because of the unusually large number of dogs that have reportedly leaped to their deaths there over a number of decades.

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According to the record, in past 50 years about 50 dogs have leapt from the bridge parapet and fall 50 feet onto the waterfalls below. Most of the dogs jump from the same side of the bridge, in clear weather, and they are breeds with long snouts.

The Legend

As an attempt to explain the bizarre effect that Overtoun Bridge has on dogs, many theories have appeared.

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Rumors state that, back in 1994 a local named Kevin Moy, threw his baby boy from the bridge and tried to commit suicide at the same spot. He later said the bridge was haunted.

Another story claims that Overtoun is a ‘thin line’ where heaven and Earth meets. They believed that the dogs pick up some ‘vibrations’, which humans are not sensitive of, leading to their strange behavior.

The Truth Behind The Legend

Since Overtoun Bridge has received international media attention, the Scottish Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) sent an animal habitat expert to investigate the causes as to why dogs kill themselves at Overtoun Bridge.

Dr David Sands, canine psychologist, conducted various experiments where he first examined factors such as sight, smell and sound.  Since the only thing visible from dog’s eye view at that point is the granite of the parapet, Dr Sand eliminated dog’s sense of sight as the cause. Sands eventually invited a team of experts from a Glasgow acoustics company and David Sexton, an animal expert to help him with his experiments. After a thorough investigation, acoustic experts found nothing unusual but Sexton did find something interesting.

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In the undergrowth of the bridge from which dogs often leaped, they discover a mice squirrel and mink. Dr Sand and his team later on hypothesized that the odor omitted by these animals is the cause of the dog’s unusual behavior.

To test their hypothesis, the odors from these animals were spread around an open field. Ten dogs were unleashed, representing the most common breeds that jumped off the bridge. 70% made straight for the mink scent. Sands concluded that, although it was not a definitive answer, the potent odor from male mink urine was possibly luring keen-nosed dogs to their deaths. However, local hunter, John Joyce, 50 years resident of the area says that “there is no mink around here. I can tell you that with absolute certainty.

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Halloween Special: The Story Behind Scotland’s Canine Suicide Spot

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