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Florida Gulf Coast University
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FGCU's Retired K9 Rommel Dies from Degenerative Disease
FORT MYERS, FL - Rommel, the retired K9 police dog employed at the Florida Gulf Coast University Weapons and Equipment Research Institute, died Aug. 28 after an extended illness, Institute director Charlie Mesloh said.
Rommel had degenerative myelopathy. He was nationally recognized as a public relations dog within the State University System. He was responsible for the establishment of dozens of non-aggressive canine units around the United States and instrumental in numerous published research projects.
"The loss of Rommel will be felt not only both those that worked with him but literally by hundreds of criminal justice students who have benefited from his performances within the academic classroom," Mesloh said. "He was also a partner, a friend and a family member who will be greatly missed and never forgotten."
Degenerative myelopathy affects dogs five years old or older. The animal progressively loses coordination with increasing weakness in the hind limbs because of deterioration in the spinal cord. German shepherds, like Rommel, are often affected.
"Rommel exhibited behavior of a well-trained service dog and was both effective and affectionate to large groups at canine demonstrations," Mesloh said. "He was a big part of many of my classes and received media coverage from time to time as well."
For more information, media representatives should contact Mesloh at (239) 590-7761.
A high-resolution photograph of Rommel is available for download at