The Overtoun Bridge is an arch bridge located near Milton, Dumbarton, Scotland, over the Overtoun Burn. It has gained public attention because of the unusually large number of dogs that have allegedly leaped to their deaths over a number of decades.
It is not known exactly when or why dogs began to leap from the bridge, but studies indicate that these deaths might have begun during the 1950s or 1960s, at the rate of about one dog a month.
The long leap from the bridge onto the waterfalls of the Overtoun Estate almost always results in immediate death. Inexplicably, some dogs have actually survived, recuperated, and then returned to the site to jump again. These dogs are known to the locals of Dumbarton as “second timers.” The dogs have mostly jumped from one side of the bridge, during clear weather, and have mostly been breeds with long noses.
The phenomenon has received international attention, and the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has sent representatives to investigate. David Sexton, an animal habitat expert, discovered there to be mice and mink residing in the underbrush of the bridge. In a test, he distributed odor from all three species in a field and unleashed ten dogs – of the varieties which have died at the bridge – to see which one most interested them. Of the ten dogs tested, only two showed no interest in any of the scents while 70 per cent made straight for the mink.
Check out this 7-minute documentary on the subject: