What is causing so many dogs to jump off the bridge ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Allan Ogg
More than 600 dogs have inexplicably jumped off the 50ft Overtoun Bridge in a rural part of Scotland.
In a small village in the Scottish Lowlands there exists a 19th century bridge with a strange presence that is believed to be responsible for sending hundreds of dogs leaping to their doom off its sides.
Over the past 60 years the crumbling stonework has seen more than 600 dogs taking the 50ft plunge with many of them meeting an untimely end at the bottom. Despite several investigations in to the phenomenon nobody has been able to determine exactly what is influencing the animals to jump.
The problem became so bad that signs were erected to recommend that dogs be kept on a lead.
Some believe that a spirit, possibly that of Lady Overtoun, haunts the area and that it is her presence that prompts the animals to jump over the side.
"When Baron Overtoun, who built the bridge, died in 1908 she was said to have wandered the bridge griefstricken for years," said teacher and author Paul Owens.
For some reason only long-nosed dog breeds, such as retrievers, seem to be affected and the incidents only appear to happen on clear days.
Animal behaviorist Dr David Sands believes that the dogs may be getting attracted to the smell of small rodents known to live at the base of the bridge, perhaps not realizing the distance of the drop.
"When you get down to a dog’s level the solid granite of the bridge’s 18in-thick walls obscures their vision and blocks out all sound," he said. "As a result the one sense not obscured - that of smell - goes into overdrive."
"I think it was highly likely here at Overtoun Bridge that it was curiosity that killed the dog."
Dog, Overtoun Bridge