The Mysterious Bridge Where Dogs Committed Suicide

“Oh no! the miserablest day we live / There’s many a better thing to do than die!” —George Darley, Ethelstan

In A Nutshell

You may have heard of a bridge in Scotland where dogs supposedly inexplicably jump to their deaths, committing suicide over the years and leading to speculation of supernatural explanations. However, the actual number of dogs falling off the bridge is greatly exaggerated and scientists have explained that dogs are attracted to a strong scent of mink that have nested under the bridge.

The Whole Bushel

There is a quaint, beautiful stone bridge in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland that is said to be a place where supernatural things happen. Namely, reports say that dogs suddenly and inexplicably jump to their demise at the exact same spot on this bridge and have been doing so for several decades. The claim is that over this period of time, somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 dogs have decided to shuffle off this mortal coil with the help of the bridge. These dogs jump off the bridge, and while many don’t die immediately due to it not being a particularly tall drop, some have had to be euthanized afterward because of their injuries. Speculation has been rife and many people want to cling to supernatural explanations, largely because it makes for a much more interesting story.

But it turns out there really isn’t anything particularly strange about the bridge. A specialist in animal behavior decided to test the bridge phenomenon with his own eyes to see what in the world was going on. He got hold of one of the dogs who had actually survived the malignant walkway and had him explore the bridge.

The specialist saw that the animal seemed intrigued by the particular section everyone talks about in the stories, so he investigated the lower part of the bridge near that spot more thoroughly. Several animal nests were found, including mink. After testing, the scientists found that dogs really, really liked the mink scent—a lot. So, it turns out that the dogs just really wanted to get after those mink, and their little doggy brains didn’t realize what kind of drop they were dealing with. It should also be noted that the same specialist explained that it is impossible for a dog to commit suicide, as it cannot premeditate its actions in such a manner.

Also, the reports of the amount of deaths are likely greatly exaggerated. After one skeptic decided to further research the story (because it sounded like an urban legend to him), the whole thing started to unravel. Several different newspapers started reporting versions of the story a while back, but none of them could agree on how many dogs actually died. The numbers ranged anywhere from 5 to 50 and no one had any evidence to back up a single one of their claims. The moral of this story is that dogs really like the smell of mink and probably can’t commit suicide.

Show Me The Proof

Dangerous Minds: The Mystery of the Dog Suicide Bridge
Skeptoid: The Suicide Dogs of Overtoun Bridge