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CANNON FALLS, Minn. - Hundreds of horses are being auctioned off at Twin Cities Horse Sales Cannon Falls this weekend.

But a few in the horse community emailed KARE 11, upset the horses were brought together.

There have been eight confirmed or suspected cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly equine herpes virus in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.

Yet none of those we spoke with at the auction were concerned, including Allison Larson of Renville, looking to buy a horse. She said, "If you quarantine anything you purchase at least for 30 days you should be safe."

The virus is shed in a horse's nasal secretions and passed horse to horse or via human contact.

"You're not supposed to go pet one horse and then go pet the other horse. You could spread it that way. If you learn to keep your hands in your pockets, you should be fine," Larson said.

The University of Minnesota Center for Animal Health recommends horses with symptoms are kept home. Plus, owners are warned that going to shows could increase risk of exposure.

Still there were hundreds of people at this auction.

Owner Jim Simon was too busy at the auction to go on camera Saturday, but he did say that he takes precautions to make sure this is a safe event because horses are his business.

He said all of the horses go through a health screening and that there were even three veterinarians at the auction on Saturday who were either buying or selling horses.

Out of approximately 400 horses registered, a representative of Twin Cities Horse Auctions said eight didn't show because their owners were worried about the virus.

Those who pulled their horses out of the auction were not penalized but they were out a non-refundable $85 registration fee to cover the cost of printing the program.

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