Ex-Con Smuggles His Pet Out Of Prison — Then Sets Him Free
When Eric Miskovitch finally walked free this week after serving more than a decade in a Pennsylvania state prison, he didn't walk alone. With him he brought an unlikely friend he'd met during his time behind bars - a little frog who had come to represent something so much bigger than himself:
Freedom, perhaps. But more so, the compassion to ensure it for others who are facing life imprisonment.
One of Miskovitch's first acts after being released and sneaking the frog out with him was to set the animal loose in hopes society at large could show more sympathy for the nation's prison population.
"It's humanity, in its purest sense. This frog was my friend, you know. He was my cute little pet, and he was innocent. I had to release him," Miskovitch told The Dodo. "I'm moving forward with his story. That's what I have to do."
Miskovitch met his pet, whom he dubbed Freedom Frog, two months ago after he stirred from hibernation beneath the dirt of the prison yard. Concerned that the frog didn't belong in such a harsh environment, where it seems life is often seen of little value, he smuggled him back to his cell, vowing to keep him alive to set him free.
Having been paroled after a 12-year sentence for robbery and car theft, Miskovitch kept true to his word. Within hours of his own release, he took a bus to a riverbank to give Freedom Frog his freedom too.
"I paid a woman $20 out of my pocket to film the video of me releasing him," Miskovitch said. "I had just walked out of prison. I had to make that happen. I don't have any money to give away, but I did. This is important to me."
While Miskovitch's incredible gesture toward the frog he smuggled out of prison is a moving story in itself, he told The Dodo that the bigger message of Freedom Frog's release is that it might inspire everyone to take a fresh look at the people who were left behind, too:
"I have an appreciation for animal rights, including those of human beings."