Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Weird

Back to some crazy animal stuff today. Specifically dogs and their relationship with the Overtoun Bridge in Scotland.

pretty, right?


What relationship you ask?

Oh, just the little fact that it causes dogs to kill themselves.

Seriously, it's a dog suicide bridge.

For decades dogs have been jumping off the bridge to their deaths. Records, since the early 60s, show dogs have been jumping off the bridge at the rate of one per month, for a total of around 600 dogs.

And it's not just accidental, either. There have been witnesses who have seen dogs jump off the bridge, survive the 50 foot fall, walk back up to the top of the bridge and jump off again.

I find this both horribly tragic (as a dog lover) but also ridiculously fascinating.

What could be driving these dogs to kill themselves using this particular bridge? There's been no scientific conclusion as to the cause.


UPDATE:

I found a short video related to the Overtoun Bridge dogs.





I don't know how believable I find it. I typically have problems with a scientist doing one experiment of one possible explanation, getting favorable results, and crying "Case closed!"

I mean, the scent of mink might get a dog up onto the bridge, but I have a hard time believing the scent caused 600 dogs to jump to their death. Hell, George won't even stick a whisker or a toenail in an inch of water to try and snag a hotdog. We know, we've tried more than once.

Also, if this were the case, I'd think we'd see high dog death rates in other areas that have large mink populations as well. Just my two cents, though.

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21 comments:

Jamie Gibbs said...

That's pretty insane. I can't imagine that a smell would cause them to leap off the bridge. Not all dogs are that stupid :)

Christine Rains said...

That's really weird. There has to be something about that bridge only dogs can sense.

Anne said...

that explanation was ridiculous. So is there an army of dogs waiting outside every mink farm in the world compelled to stay and smell mink NO MATTER WHAT? If dogs could be so coerced by smells to commit suicide, then you'd have a large amount of scent hounds dying while hunting fox, coyote, raccons, etc etc.

Matthew MacNish said...

No way. We all know Mink smell like ass, and dogs love the smell of ass, but not enough to die for it.

I've heard of this bridge before, and I think thy should tear it down.

Maria Zannini said...

I've heard this story. What I want to know is why no one tries to put up a netted barricade or something to keep animals safe. This is ridiculous to allow it to happen.

JoLynne Lyon said...

I think your skepticism is healthy, but I'm a basset owner and I can attest to the power of smell for some dogs. If she smells something interesting she will do some strange, hard-to-do things to get it.

Anne said...

the scent explanation for me really doesn't hold water. Do you think your basset would follow a rabbit scent and then be compelled to jump off a bridge? And then- if the fall didn't kill her, go back up to the top of the bridge and jump off again?
i mean- i could see an occassional accidental fall because of smell/distractions. But 600 purposeful jumps? that's not a strong enough explanation for me

Shelley Sly said...

Wow, this is weird! I'm not sure how much of it is "suicide" and how much scientists are just hoping for that kind of answer. Either way, that's creepy, and I would not take my family's dogs for a walk there.

L.G.Smith said...

A true Wednesday Weird. And I'm with Maria. Why don't they put up a barricade to prevent the dogs from jumping? Crazy.

Kimberlee Turley said...

He didn't change the position of the mink so how does he know the dogs aren't just smelling the scent of the other dogs?

I really find it hard to believe a dog would be so hyped up over a mink that it'd jump to its death.

And what about sounds outside of the human auditory spectrum?

On those ghost shows where they have people who get freaked out because an outlet is putting out extra electronic waves (or whatever) and it registers as a feeling of someone watching them?

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Dogs may be loveable, but they are just stupid animals. They have less intelligence than a toddler and if you left a toddler alone on the bridge it might go over the edge too. Then people would wonder..."Why did the toddler commit suicide?" It's just being stupid. Dogs are stupid.

Claire Hennessy said...

Michael's comment made me laugh. But suicide dogs don't . How sad :( Maybe it's some weird dog curse. You've been tagged :)

Claire Hennessy said...

Sorry, I just had to comment on that daft video. I do not think a dog would jump off because it smelled mink - why wouldn't it just run round. There haven't been mink jumping off have there? Stupid.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not buying the mink theory. Maybe they see or sense something else?
And Yvie isn't stupid!

Clara said...

Okay, if I had a dog I'd NEVER go to Scotland! Holly Bejesus, what could be causing that? I don't believe that scientist, I think there's a more "spiritual" explanation to it. Maybe a dog must sacrifice to save the earth. Now THAT would make a great story!

Sarah said...

Um ... that "experiment" determined that a lot of dogs like that minky smell, but it didn't actually test the hypothesis that the scent is the cause of the dogs jumping. I think you're right, Sarah--it's good to be skeptical. It's a reasonable hypothesis, but has only the barest support.

DL Hammons said...

I read this to my wife and she replied...NO WAY! :)

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

i think you've told me about this before... so WEIRD.
and macnish's comment was HILARIOUS!
but poor, poor puppies!

Teebore said...

I don't buy the smell thing either. Dogs can be dumb, but they still have a sense of self preservation. Like Anne said, I could see a few dogs following the scent off a bridge, oblivious to their surroundings, but not that many dogs...

Catherine Stine said...

Strange brewings! Is there some kind of devil dog in the water, barking out to the dogs?

Sarah Pearson said...

How strange, and how sad. As some others have said, I can't believe that nothing has been done to try and prevent this.

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