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There are several theories as to why the dogs jump from Overtoun Bridge, commonly referred to as “Dog Suicide Bridge.” Some believe that the sound of the water below lures the dogs into leaping over the four-foot-high walls that are meant to protect those who cross the bridge.

A second theory speculates that the bridge is haunted, due to a mentally unstable man who once lived in the area and supposedly threw his child off the bridge (disturbing, I know).

A third theory introduces the idea of an optical illusion created by the reflection in the water below that makes dogs jump. This theory, however, can easily be dismissed considering most dogs can’t actually see over the four-foot wall before they jump.

Finally, the most scientifically backed answer comes from a team of Davids. Dr. David Sands, a canine psychologist, and David Sexton, a habitat expert, put their heads together and discovered that there is a strong scent of mink in the area. Yes, the little wryly creatures.

mink

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Their research concluded that sight was limited for dogs on the bridge due to the walls and that the rushing waters likely caused a sensory overload for hearing. They claim that dogs are more dependent on their sense of smell than any other sense while near the bridge, and thus the smell of minks makes the dogs react, sending them over the bridge and often to their death.

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