msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 3/2/2010 11:56:19 AM ET 2010-03-02T16:56:19

An English dog-owner was fined and barred from driving for six months after taking his pet for a stroll while sitting behind the wheel of his car.

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Prosecutors said Paul Railton was spotted by a cyclist driving slowly along a country lane in December, holding his dog's leash through the car window as the animal trotted alongside.

Railton pleaded guilty Monday to not being in proper control of a vehicle, but told the court that "a lot of people exercise their dogs in that manner."

His lawyer, Paul Donoghue, said 23-year-old Railton acknowledged "it was a silly thing to do and there was an element of laziness." Donoghue was quoted by British newspapers as saying that his client "does not usually drive in such a manner."

Railton was ordered by magistrates in Consett, northeast England, to pay a 66 pound (about $100) fine, plus costs.

He also received three penalty points on his driver's license and as a result of existing points is barred from driving for six months.

"It is a joke," Railton said after the hearing, according to British newspaper The Sun. "I'm not bothered. I knew I would get three points. I might save myself some money not having a car."

Several British newspapers reported that Railton was involved in an attempted murder case last year. He was reportedly due to stand trial in connection with a shooting in 2007, but the case was dismissed because of police misconduct.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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