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On a wet and windy winter's day on the west coast of Scotland, the ancient borough of Dumbarton can appear bleak and depressing. The once fashionable and prosperous ship-building centre is now little more than a suburb of Glasgow and, it appears, even some of the dogs have lost the will to live.
Animal behaviourists are concerned at an apparent spate of canine "suicides" in the town after at least five dogs are said to have thrown themselves from an historic bridge in the past six months.
In the once landscaped grounds of Overtoun House - a country mansion built in 1863 with ornate religious symbolism and the words "Fear God and keep His commandments" carved into its walls - the bridge is fast becoming known as "rover's leap".
Following a rash of unexplained incidents in which family pets have leapt to their deaths from the parapet of the bridge, animal welfare experts are warning owners to keep their dogs on a tight leash.
"Dogs do not commit suicide. They have a strong fight or flight response," said Doreen Graham of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "The incidents at the bridge are of very great concern to us because we would like to understand why they are happening."
In the latest incident, a woman was shocked to see her dog suddenly vault over the parapet and plunge 40ft to its death for no apparent reason.
Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
However, one of my mother's old dogs was moved up north to live with my sister. That dog loooooved my mom. And the dog was very nuerotic.
My mom was no longer around. My sister SWEARS the dog ran in front of their car intentionally. Dunno
Originally posted by WyrdeOne
I think probably the first one to jump was a female in heat who thought she smelled a cheeseburger. The other five were following her scent.
Like, just because I lick my own genitals doesn't mean I don't have feelings!
Originally posted by UnMature
Do the dogs really know or have the ability to know that they will die if they jump from this 40 foot bridge...this isn't a challenge saying they don't know but a question asking if they do.
The bridge, over a tributary of the Clyde, lies within the grounds of Overtoun House, an A-listed baronial building currently run as a Christian centre. It was the scene of a family tragedy in 1994 when Kevin Moy threw his two-week-old son to his death believing him to be the Antichrist.