A Washington state Marine and his family have become the target of death threats after a video surfaced earlier this week in which the man apparently throws a puppy off a cliff and into a rocky ravine, according to KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.
The disturbing clip, apparently shot overseas and possibly in Iraq, wound up on YouTube before the site took it down for violations of content rules. In it, two uniformed Marines are joking, and one is holding a motionless black-and-white puppy by the scruff of its neck. Suddenly, he hurls the little dog into a craggy gully, still chuckling with his friend.
Click here to watch the video (WARNING: GRAPHIC).
The Marine is called by a single name in the video, which has led him to become the brunt of hate mail circulated on thousands of Web sites, according to KIRO. His family has received death threats over the phone; they've since disconnected their number, the station reported.
"The hatred that’s gone on towards this family is completely out of control, and I think it’s just people looking for something," a neighbor who identified herself only as Dana told the news station. "They hate already, so now they’re just focusing their hate on this poor family and it’s completely wrong."
The backlash has prompted a police presence outside the family's home in Monroe, Wash., and in the general area where they live.
On Tuesday, the United States Marines Corps condemned the puppy abuse video and promised an aggressive investigation into who is responsible.
Sources at the Marine Corps base in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, where the Marine is based, told FOXNews.com that they were upset and outraged by the clip. They confirmed there is someone stationed there who served in Iraq with the same name uttered in the video.
"There is [a man by that name] here and back from Iraq," a source said. "Whether or not he is actually in the video, I can’t confirm that — that’s being investigated right now."
In the grainy, low-quality clip, the Marine pretends he tripped and lost hold of the dog. A yelping sound is heard as the puppy sails through the air.
"That’s mean. That was mean, Motari," his friend says, laughing.
A host of Internet blogs and sites have circulated what they speculate is the puppy-throwing Marine's full name.
It was likely the named man and others were being questioned in the case, sources told FOXNews.com on Tuesday. Those at the base in Hawaii were very upset by the video.
"We’re all outraged," a source said. "We’re probably more outraged than the general public. I hate that it happened."
The base's public affairs director issued a statement Tuesday denouncing the vignette.
"The video is shocking and deplorable and is contrary to the high standards we expect of every Marine," said Maj. Chris Perrine. "This video came to our attention this morning, and we have initiated an investigation. We do not tolerate this type of behavior and will take appropriate action."
The authenticity of the clip, which has been viewed more than 145,000 times since it was uploaded to YouTube in the last two days, has not been verified.
"It's questionable," a source told FOXNews.com. "But even if it was a fake, it's still outrageous."
FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans and The Associated Press contributed to this report.