Overtoun Bridge is a category B listed structure on Cape Overtoun on the road approaching Overtoun House near Dumbarton in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. It was completed in 1895 based on a design by landscape architect HE Milner.
Since the 1950s, large numbers of dogs have been reported to have fallen or jumped off the bridge. The bridge was nicknamed the "Dog Suicide Bridge" due to events that usually result in serious injury or death when falling on rocks from a height of about 15 m. Various explanations have been proposed for these deaths, from natural accidents to paranormal activities.
In the 1950s, locals began referring to the bridge as the "Bridge of Death" or the "Dog Suicide Bridge", as dogs were reported to have jumped from the bridge into the valley below. The story gained more prominence in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Since the first events were reported, 50 dogs have died from the fall, and to the delight more than 600 have survived.
In 2004, while Kenneth Meikle was walking with his family and Golden Retriever, the dog suddenly jumped off a bridge. The dog survived, but was traumatized from the fall. Going into 2005, at least five more dogs jumped over the course of six months. Pet owner Alice Trevorrow, who walked on the bridge with her dog Cassie in 2014, said: 'I parked and wasn't leading my dog Cassie because she was so obedient… She was looking at something on the bridge, me and my son walked towards Cassie. He had definitely seen something and jumped in fright. Something sinister is happening on that bridge. His behavior on the bridge was definitely against my dog's character."
Some people rationally approach canine suicides, saying that dogs can smell small animals running around in the walkway under the bridge, so they jump.
Others think that this is a paranormal spot. The location of the bridge fits the description of what the pagan Celts called the 'fine point'. The fine point is believed to be a fascinating area where heaven and earth intersect.
This theory was refuted by local hunter John Joyce, who has lived in the area for 50 years, and stated that "there are no minks in the area". However, in an investigation by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Officer David Sexton found that one end of the bridge contained "mouse, squirrel and mink nests". Also, in an experiment where ten dogs were exposed to canisters filled with the scent of mice, squirrels, and minks, seven of the dogs “were directed quite dramatically, many of them mink.”
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals surveyed the bridge and its surroundings, but none of their findings were conclusive.
In 2019, Bob and Melissa Hill, owners of Overtoun House, said that in their 17 years of staying at the home, they had witnessed numerous dogs getting agitated, jumping and falling off a bridge. Bob Hill, a pastor originally from Texas, noted that the smell of mink, pine martens, and other animals made the dogs uneasy, causing them to jump onto the bridge wall: “The dogs smell a mink, pine marten, or some other mammal, and then they jump down on the bridge whose wall is tapered.” But Hill also expressed his belief that Evin's land had some sort of spiritual quality.
Local teacher Paul Owens argues that the bridge and nearby Overtoun House are haunted by supernatural activity. He claims that dogs and other animals are susceptible to such supernatural activity, so he suggests dark spirits are responsible for luring dogs to death.
In October 1994, paranoid schizophrenic Kevin Moy threw his two-week-old son Eoghan to death from a bridge because he believed he was an incarnation of Satan due to a birthmark. He chose the place because of his association with dark spirits going back to the Druidic days. Following the act of murder, Moy attempted to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge and slitting her wrists several times, but was detained and placed in a mental health hospital.